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"Plumbing Woes"

A bit annoyed yesterday. I’ve been fitting a replacement radiator in our dining room (room of new floor), but had some problems with the plumbing as new radiator is not as wide as old radiator was. This combined with the fact that I didn’t realise that valve tails (the bits that screw into the radiator and then connects with the valves) come with the value and not the radiator – so I’d thrown them away with the old radiator – meant I had problems connecting it all up. Not particularly keen to drain the whole system in order to fit new valves and/or move the pipes to fit the new radiator (it’s only a couple of inches out), I think there must be another solution.

No problem, think I – Screwfix to the rescue with their extending valve tails to solve both problems at once! (Screwfix having supplied the original radiator, you understand).

Said items arrive, and very strangely have got 15mm screws to go into the radiator, but 3/4″ connector to the valve; but our values are 15mm! So I go to Homebase, and find exactly the same problem – 15mm to the radiator no problem, but 3/4″ to the valve…

Fortunately I have plenty of 15mm plumbing bits and bobs so, think I, I’ll bodge something together with compression joints. Job done – except for the leaking.

At this point I give up, and try to call in a plumber (remember we’ve got a new shiny floor going down, so if the floorboards are coming up – or indeed if there’s going to be water flowing freely – we need to do that first). I won’t go into the plumber saga, suffice to say that he repeatedly didn’t show up, and floor chap arrives with the radiator still not plumbed…

.. who happens to know a bit about plumbing – he has a look at the problem and agrees that it should be fairly simple to solve even with the new floor down, and gets on with laying the floor. I show him the extending valve tail I’ve got and explain the problem.. he takes once look and says,

“But that’s just a 3/4″ reducer – if you take it off then you can do a standard 15mm compression joint to the valve.”

Arrrrggggg – one quick pipe cut to get the reducer off, throw on an olive and nut, and job done… without leaks!! I could have done it weeks ago with the first thing I bought. Why didn’t I think of doing it? Why why why? One thing I did learn though is that you have to tighten connectors to radiators really tightly. Like jumping on the wrench until absolutely rock solid. With normal compression joints you have be careful of over-tightening; not so when screwing in a valve tail, it seems. Couldn’t believe it kept seeping until I did it. Forgot to check it this morning, actually – must remember to do so tonight.

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