Removing bath taps. Strangest fittings.

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by DavidDavidson, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. DavidDavidson

    DavidDavidson Member

    So my mother wants to put a new set of bath taps into her house. When I turned up with flexibility hoses and a pipe cutter I was presented with this type of fitting to the bottom of the tap (see image)
    And that's the easy tap to reach, though accessibility isn't the issue.
    They looked like they were designed to be unscrewed by hand as I've never seen a tool that would unscrew that.
    I tried tapping at the "fins" coming out of the fixture with a hammer and an old masonry chisel, barely enough room to swing my hammer.
    Then I grabbed my slip joint pliers (totally forgetting that I had a pair of vice grips) and got some movement with that. I thought. Then I looked up and the 45° of movement translated to a 45° movement of the tap above.

    Is there a special tool for this. I was just going to drain the system, unscrew the taps, cut the pipe, add flexi hoses and attach them to the new taps, tighten everything up and voila ( I'm dubious about whether or not the new taps will fit as it's a single unit and the downpipes are smaller than the original fitting, but they can be moved to be slightly wider, but also slightly diagonal; however that's another story entirely), but these fittings nearly gave me an aneurysm, is this how older plumbers prank people doing DIY (well unpaid work as it isn't my house...)? Am I doing something horribly wrong.EDIT I was considering grabbing a cheap blowtorch to expand the metal a bit and heating the fittings up a bit then trying to tap them loose if there isn't a special tool.
    This is my first foray into plumbing (well except for fixing airlock, repairing ballcocks and stuff like that and fixing drainage pipes for grey water.

    It's TL;DR territory after this guys, unless you want to give suggestions on how to half a bathroom.
    After this I'll have a sink to do, which has nice bolts so I might go from copper to hose on that just because I dislike working with copper plumbing somewhat, I remember watching Canada's worst handyman (a must watch series) and seeing them have to use a blowtorch, flux and fittings (and the water exploding out of anywhere because they can't solder pipe, or listen to the guy instructing them) seems so backwards compared to compression fit hoses.
    And finally I'll be fitting a toilet, what fun. Elbow high rubber gloves on list of must haves.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  2. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    If the tap is spinning can you not hold the fitting with some plumbing grips and then turn the tap body to loosen it off.

    Just looks like a 22mm to 3/4 tap coupler to me.

    Personally dislike flexis but they do have their place. I once had a flexi explode under a bath in the place in was staying. Luckily I was in the flat at the time so I heard the bang and then the rushing water before it could do any real damage. It did flood half of the place though in minutes... If I had been out it would have been a disaster.
    Heat and DavidDavidson like this.
  3. DavidDavidson

    DavidDavidson Member

    It's not so much that the tap is spinning, to get the tap back into place I pushed and I pulled (and I'm a big enough guy, 115kg (admittedly some of that is "liquid muscle", which I'm trying to either solidify or pour off) but to get the tap back into place to it wasn't sending water a flying when my mum dropped me off at my place I had to whack it back into place with a hammer.
    I've a friend who I could subcontract for the same amount I'm getting paid (easy to go fifty fifty when the pay it £0) and he could hold the tap or my mother could do it by slipping a long bit of PVC piping over the tap end to add leverage and make the job easier for her (I always slipped something over a spanner for some extra torque if needed).

    I heed your warning about flexis. But as you said, they do have their place and I would trust a flexi more than me soldering copper pipe for the first time. Add to the fact I don't have a pipe bender and stuff they really are the DIYer item and a contractor item when when they wouldn't (for some reason) want to use copper.

    Thanks for the reply and the warning about those flexi hoses; these are getting low pressure anyway as it comes from a crawlspace attic in a bungalow. I'm more worried about my rented house which the landlord switched to gas and now everything is under mains water pressure.
    Including the flexi they fitted to my toilet as the copper was leaking under mains pressure.

    My toilet fills up faster, however I don't want my house filled up quickly.

    This whole setup is in a very confined space. The sink is almost right beside the bath so I have to move and bend in there.
    If I weren't using my phone I would draw a 'detailed schematic':rolleyes: using MS paint but if you walked.into the bathroom it's about 10-12' wide the sink is in the middle, the bath is to the left and the toilet is on the right.
    If there is a tool for this it would be very helpful.

    Again, many thanks!
  4. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Well-Known Member

    Nothing terribly unusual with that tap connector - google Conex Compresion Fittings

    Probably not as common as a hexagonal type nut but certainly not worth getting ur knickers in a twist or god forbid, having an aneurysm over

    Pair of grips, hold tap, unscrew and they’re off

    Ok, probably been in situ donkeys years so may take some grunt to remove, may have been tightened up with some ‘paste’ to further give you grief but, nothing that you can’t handle

    When you say ‘drain system’, what is currently supplying hot and cold feeds ?

    Shouldn’t have to drain system and what system are you talking about here ?

    Cold - mains/tank fed
    Hot - combi/storage cylinder fed

    Shouldn’t need to drain anything

    You’ve got a lot of work on your hands sounds like, I’m only diy myself but, don’t run b4 you can walk ......I don’t mean that in a rude or condescending manner, honest :)
    DavidDavidson likes this.
  5. candoabitofmoststuff

    candoabitofmoststuff Active Member

    Well if he's got a storage tank and no isolating valves the tank will probably need to be drained. (unless the frewezing route is taken).

    With apologies if I've got that wrong!

  6. DavidDavidson

    DavidDavidson Member

    This. I drain the cold to empty the storage tank for cold water in the attic (run cold taps until there's no more water coming out and leave the cold mains valve closed and the cold kitchen tap open (as with old fittings some water always makes it through.
    Once the water has dropped to 0 in the bath I intend to loosen the fittings (they did add adhesive, I might heat it a little to see if it softens it up a little and causes the brass(?) to expand, again making the job easier.

    I know the whole walk before you run stuff but as long as I can get these taps off it's smooth sailing. Have a C style pipe cutter and have a bit of experience on it (granted I was cutting copper pipe left over from my boiler job), mainly I've done stuff like alcove shelving and stuff before though I'm a fairly quick study, it's just loosening these fasteners that's the issue, after that, cut pipe, add flexi, add new taps, tighten everything up, refill the tanks and remove any airlock.

    Edit: I know I'm new to it, though when I was getting the gas put in by the landlord I casually watched the plumbers/gasmen (without getting in their way), chatted a bit when they weren't busy and asked a question or two whilst handing their tools over to them and vice versa; obviously I wasn't peering over their shoulder the whole job, I was in their vicinity for less then 5% of the time as to not bother them. They seemed to think I wasn't an **** I would assume as they left a fair bit of their kit (Makita SDS drills, boxes of tools, other expensive items etc.) Up in my spare room after asking if I minded them leaving them there (naturally they went entirely untouched by me) but I took that as a bit of a gesture of trust towards me.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  7. Heat

    Heat Well-Known Member

    Not a clear photo of the top connection area.
    Sorry to say , but this is where it shows people have no clue whatsoever about plumbing.
    There is no such thing as a fitting that will connect to the 3/4” thread of a tap, except 3/4” female fittings or 3/4” tap fittings.
    That is a female conex fitting (lower) on with a jointing compound.
    The nut above is just an add on washer/spacer done by someone with an strange idea.
    Get a plumber to do it correctly.
    Just needs lower nut slackened and all fittings removed and no flexi used.
    Flexis are restrictive flow. I never use them, but I am a plumber with 40 + years doing it right
    Dave does Gas likes this.
  8. Heat

    Heat Well-Known Member

    Conex are one of the very best fittings and the easiest to tighten or slacken.
    Footprint adjustable spanners work well on conex fittings.
    I am not sure why anyone would want to replace the ever lasting and solid and professional pipework with pieces of rubber hose. The new taps would need well held.
    That is probably 1.5 hours work to connect it properly by an actual plumber
    DavidDavidson and Dam0n like this.
  9. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    The nut and washer above the fittings is probably just to clamp the tap to the bath itself.
    DavidDavidson and Heat like this.
  10. Heat

    Heat Well-Known Member

    It is. Took me a minute on first look to figure out what the over sized nut was doing there.
    Possibly a 28mm nut.
    DavidDavidson and Dam0n like this.
  11. DavidDavidson

    DavidDavidson Member

    Sorry that the photo isn't clear, my mother took it on her iPhone. If we lived in the same place I would have gotten the DSLR out and got a really, really good photo.

    The new taps in question are a single piece with a shower, they screw in underneath and then both threaded ends drop down into the bath so each tap would be held by the plastic holder that threads up to the base of the bath (and probably a little silicone paste: for luck) I know the issue with flexi hoses (you decrease the diameter of something with a fluid running through it and the pressure rises; if the tap is off and said hose cannot handle the pressure, is kablamo!) but as I've said the house is a bungalo and when she got it on mortgage there were pressure problems that were fixed by the guy selling it after she moved in.

    As a plumber yourself could you give a ballpark quote? She has mentioned maybe hiring a plumber to do the taps for the bath then have me replace the sink and replace the toilet.

    below is for the rest of the people in the thread as well as heat (thanks for your expert opinion by the way, I appreciate it.
    She wants the sink put into a wooden cabinet so I would have to do the cut out (excuse to get a half decent jigsaw and I'll probably be getting an oscillating tool just because my birthday is coming up and it would be a nice gift from me to me; they're all made by worx (though this is a real cordless jigsaw not that half reciprocating saw one quarter jigsaw one quarter funny looks from anyone who sees you with one) I know they aren't the best brand out there but they're actually fairly good for the home DIYer (even Ave was surprised by their battery powered "no flow needed, drop it in a bucket" pressure washer. Main reason for purchasing, I got a drill on clearance from Argos almost exactly a year ago and I've given it a fair bit of abuse, the chuck lock slips once or twice then locks up now, but other than that she's still go in strong. £94 for the drill 2 2.0Ah batteries and a charger, so I'm kind of battery locked to the brand. They aren't a contractor brand, I doubt some io their tools would last an hour in the hands of a contractor on a job but they're good enough for me; unless anyone wishes to advise otherwise?

    Oh to every one else in the thread thanks for the replies! I definitely wasn't expecting as many replies.
  12. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Well-Known Member

    Bung the tank - saves draining

    Can buy various rubber bung kits

    I’ve done it several times by ramming twisted piece of tea towel into tank outlet and packing it tight with a screwdriver

    Yeah a right cowboy method I realise but it works

    Check it’s holding water tight - no water coming out tap

    Have all tools and iso valve ready and in closed position

    Cut pipe, whack on iso valve, remove tea towel - 2 minutes probably to have a twitchy a rse (saves buying a bung kit)
  13. retiredsparks

    retiredsparks Well-Known Member

    Conex quite common.
    Just bought myself a basin waste box spanner 47-50mm.
    8.5 I think the Lady of the house will appreciate a new waste outlet in the en-suite as her Xmas prezzie.
    ( I wish :()
    DavidDavidson likes this.
  14. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    I know what you mean. I've just bought mine an axe for splitting up firewood and she wasn't impressed in the slightest. Spoilt these women..
    retiredsparks and Heat like this.
  15. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    If you've not already bought the sink (basin actually - sinks go in kitchens and utility rooms)) I wouldn't rush out to buy a jigsaw. A lot of cabinet mounted basins come ready prepared so it's merely a case of assembling the kit.

    I hardly use my jigsaws nowadays. There's a really good mains one sitting idle in its case and the battery one (almost identical) is gathering dust in the bottom of the tool bag. Good quality hole saws, oscillating multi tools and plunge saws have rendered them nearly obsolete.
  16. DavidDavidson

    DavidDavidson Member

    Basin, sink; we call it the same here around Belfast, I've had tradesmen ask "kitchen sink or bathroom sink" before.

    As for assembling the kit. You do not know my mother.
    Instead of wisely buying kit she bought a wooden cabinet, has a wood elf installing hinged doors on it, I'll have to make cutouts at the back for the pipes going up I believe then I'll have to put the sink basin upside down on top of the fitted cabinet, draw around it. Measure the lip remove the sink, make markings if where the lip would be and draw around that, then drill a hole for the jigsaw to go in to and cut it out.

    My mother, she takes a very unique approach to DIY, like having a hanging basket inside in front of the window with wooden blocks so the horse saddlerack to hold the basket wouldn't stop the curtains. Add to that she wanted 7 screws through the top wooden block into the masonry (to hold two screws into the wood, which is overkill at its finest but after fifteen minutes of explaining that four would more than suffice I gave up and started drilling holes)) and 3 in the bottom piece, to hold one screw in the wood.

    The basin: Second hand
    The bath taps: Second hand
    I think hope the toilet is new

    She has a habit of jumping into things without thinking one bit of what the end result is going to look like. I had to talk her out of going with the original floorboards in the bathroom for Christ sake, now she wants tongue and groove hardwood I think.

    Add to that the fact that the cabinet for the basin is about 10cm higher, so I'll have to get something to extend her the PVC on the new basin so it fits to the horizontal (bungalow) out pipe.

    I do have a jigsaw but it's a black and decker one that's as old as I am, doesn't really cut straight and due to no orbital/pendulum motion may have a hard time cutting through 4cm (at a guess) deep hardwood.

    If I could do the cut with an oscillating multi tool I would, I just don't reckon it would do the depth required.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  17. retiredsparks

    retiredsparks Well-Known Member

    It's people like you buying them their own axes that ruin it for the rest of us blokes:)
    I ..might ..get away with 500 or 600 quid this xmas...if ....I behave till then
    Dam0n likes this.
  18. Heat

    Heat Well-Known Member

    I didn’t realise you are in NI.
    You asked an approximate figure for installing the bath taps.
    Realistically it could take up to half a day for a plumber for doing a proper job and travel time etc.
    Prices here would generally be more reasonable than some other parts of U.K.
    DavidDavidson likes this.
  19. DavidDavidson

    DavidDavidson Member

    I would bung the tank but I can't get up into the headspace (not an attic) as there's no proper ladder, I nearly had a heart attack watching my mother climb an old wood folding ladder that had been turned into a step ladder by drilling holes and adding roles so it didn't slide out (why she doesn't remove the ropes for attic entrances and put them back on for using it as a step ladder (which she already has) I do not know.
    As I watched her climb up she went from putting her weight on the ladder then climbing onto the bathroom door (correct me if I'm wrong, but doors are not designed with holding the weight of an albeit small human in mind, right?) then into the "attic"

    I would have to ask her to use a bung or the towel trick but honestly (whispers) I don't trust her. I mean using a door as a ladder. I can see why most accidents happen in the home...

    As for draining it, it'll likely ha e to be fully drained anyway as the water at the bottom is dark brown, completely opaque and full of filth so I might buy one of those cheap siphon pumps or drill pumps run the tank dry and get all the filth taken out of it. Someone never put a lid on the tank, then left it up there for years to be cleaned out.

    @ Heat no worries mate, should have said where I was before asking for a quote, that one's on me.
    When I was referring to the fittings I was referring to the fixture connecting to the bath tap (the one now known to be conex, cheers by the way) and whatever is clamping that tap to the bath. I'll see if I can get a better photo tomorrow if you want, I'll bring the ludicrously expensive camera up. The (new) taps are 1/2" thread so if I could get away with it I might keep the old copper. Though it really is a convenience thing.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  20. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    That'll be your f&e tank for your central heating and not your cold water stoage tank.

Share This Page