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Why Do They Even Bother To Sell Tap Washers These Days?

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OK, when the tap keeps dripping the diagnosis is usually that it needs a new washer. Replacing the washer is fairly straightforward and only costs a few pence or tens of pence.

But how many times does one take the tap apart to find the the washer is in good condition but that the seating in the tap body is seriously under-engineered and as a consequence has begun to crumble?

It seems that a lifespan is built into many product by deliberately under-engineering a key component or making it from the wrong material - e.g. nylon gear wheels in the drive mechanism of an electric hedge trimmer.

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Re-Cut the seat!

Simple.

http://www.toolfastdirect.co.uk/acatalog/M...ting_Tools.html

Loads of place sell 'em!

You are lucky it's a simple washer!

My whizzy £200 kitchen tap uses nasty little modules: as most expensive stuff does now. (Ceramic disk valves).

Trouble is there are zillions of different types!

Most taps these days are made in China: and when the inserts go it's a new tap!

Not for me! I'm far too mean!

I hacksawed the splined bit off the originally nasty corroded insert: drilled and tapped the body of a suitable new part (£8), made up a threaded rod: and Loctited it in.

Problem sorted!

Saving: £180.

Result.

:)

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But how many times does one take the tap apart to find the the washer is in good condition but that the seating in the tap body is seriously under-engineered and as a consequence has begun to crumble?

It seems that a lifespan is built into many product by deliberately under-engineering a key component or making it from the wrong material - e.g. nylon gear wheels in the drive mechanism of an electric hedge trimmer.

After WW2 a lot of effort went into researching exactly how to do this and how to design products to fail after a certain lifetime. These things are deliberately built in this way. Things are actively built not to last. It is sh*t, but it is how it is.

I've noticed it with clothing as well. I have a number of pairs of shorts that I bought 20 years ago, which have outlived numerous more recently purchased pairs of a similar price level.

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After WW2 a lot of effort went into researching exactly how to do this and how to design products to fail after a certain lifetime. These things are deliberately built in this way. Things are actively built not to last. It is sh*t, but it is how it is.

I've noticed it with clothing as well. I have a number of pairs of shorts that I bought 20 years ago, which have outlived numerous more recently purchased pairs of a similar price level.

Similar price level in nominal or real terms?

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After WW2 a lot of effort went into researching exactly how to do this and how to design products to fail after a certain lifetime. These things are deliberately built in this way. Things are actively built not to last. It is sh*t, but it is how it is.

It's called Planned Obselence. Vance Packard wrote about it in 60's(?)

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OK, when the tap keeps dripping the diagnosis is usually that it needs a new washer. Replacing the washer is fairly straightforward and only costs a few pence or tens of pence.

But how many times does one take the tap apart to find the the washer is in good condition but that the seating in the tap body is seriously under-engineered and as a consequence has begun to crumble?

It seems that a lifespan is built into many product by deliberately under-engineering a key component or making it from the wrong material - e.g. nylon gear wheels in the drive mechanism of an electric hedge trimmer.

You've hit on something that really makes my blood boil here. 95% of dripping taps don't need a new washer, they need a reground seat, as Prescience points out.

I bought a £7.99 seat cutter from B&Q and have done about 6 taps successfully. But the b@stards who allow the seats to be made out of monkey metal, instead of brass should be shot. For the sake of a fraction of a penny, householders have to call in plumbers at £50 a call out.

I'm no plumber, but I learned how to sort it, and what to buy just by asking Google questions.

The last bit of the link identifies the problem.

http://diydata.com/problem/taps/washer_replace.php

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You've hit on something that really makes my blood boil here. 95% of dripping taps don't need a new washer, they need a reground seat, as Prescience points out.

I bought a £7.99 seat cutter from B&Q and have done about 6 taps successfully. But the b@stards who allow the seats to be made out of monkey metal, instead of brass should be shot. For the sake of a fraction of a penny, householders have to call in plumbers at £50 a call out.

I'm no plumber, but I learned how to sort it, and what to buy just by asking Google questions.

The last bit of the link identifies the problem.

http://diydata.com/problem/taps/washer_replace.php

In the cause of not wasting cash and trying to do my bit for the environment, I will always try and repair rather than replace.

If a tap seat seems beyond recovery, then simply clean it up as best as possible to provide a level (Even though pitted surface) and then Loctite or Araldite in a thick brass washer.

This will provide a new seat which will take re-cutting in the future.

Another good investment is a tap wrench: and always fit taps using flexible hoses and service ball valves, so you can isolate that bit of the system for maintenance, repair and replacement.

http://www.screwfix.com/search.do;jsession...=Service+Valves

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/13294/Hand-T...es/Basin-Wrench

http://www.screwfix.com/search.do;jsession...+Tap+Connectors

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If a tap seat seems beyond recovery, then simply clean it up as best as possible to provide a level (Even though pitted surface) and then Loctite or Araldite in a thick brass washer.

This will provide a new seat which will take re-cutting in the future.

Good tip.

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A lot of stuff has become cheaper though, so the quality is bound to suffer.

Clothes are a good example.

Yes, you CAN still buy expensive stuff, but most people don't and treat clothes as almost disposable. Primark is the worst example.

The problem is that as soon as one manufacturer of a given product starts making cheaper ones - even though they won't last as long, all the other makers have to follow suit because when people walk into, say, Comet, and see a washing machine for £199, they'll mostly choose that one, rather than the better-built one for £350.

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It is still possible to buy things that will last, just gotta pay a bit more, and do some research. Yes, there really are websites out there where people discuss the merits and durability of various fridges.

Some things are exempt from this... with computers, the build quality is generally good because the software is the thing that eventually makes them obsolete... therefore why end up getting more in-warranty returns on purpose when it's easier to let "advancing" software and increasingly bloated code turn it into junk?

Vista did not have high hardware specs to provide new services, it had them in the hopes of getting people to ditch their old hardware. Backfired pretty spectacularly, people just kept their old PCs with XP.

I'm getting a little tried of replacing kettles... the latest one is all-metal, no sodding plastic so should hopefully last a little longer than the 6-month cheapos I've previously bought.

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real terms

That surprises me. It seems to me that the clothes I buy have roughly the same actually price as they did ten to fifteen years ago, which means they are half the price in real term - no surprise they don't last as long.

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That surprises me. It seems to me that the clothes I buy have roughly the same actually price as they did ten to fifteen years ago, which means they are half the price in real term - no surprise they don't last as long.

One difference is that I bought the first lot in Australia. Since then I have noticed, for instance, is that the pockets in Australian bought trousers tend to be better made, so keys/change don't wear through them in about 3 months. This aspect is completely clear. I have 4 or 5 pairs of British shorts/trousers (White Stuff or similar...supposedly high quality brands) and a similar number of shorts purchased in Oz. All the British pockets are gone and none of the Australian ones. You should be able to keep your keys in your pocket without destroying your trousers...

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