I thought I’d be clever and change all the washers in the bath, and show the kids how it’s done at the same time. The shower ones were okay, but when we tried to take off the bath hot, it broke away.
Result: nothing to grip onto. I assume the whole bit will have to be replaced, but how do I get it out, given the only thing I can grip onto just broke off? There is a hexagonal section, but it’s beyond the level of the tiles, and inaccessible, at least with any spanner I own.
5:20pm: Have got the hexagonal bit that can grip onto it, but it’s not budging. Have called for reinforcements.
Also got a replacement part, which may or may not match the other one precisely, though functionally I expect it to work — as the lady in Bunnings said, “they’re pretty much universal.”
6:50pm: Reinforcements (my highly talented brother-in-law Adrian) arrived, and with the aid of a longer lever than is supplied with the hexagonal sockets, managed to get the thingo out. We’ve replaced it with the new one, which as expected doesn’t quite match the old one; the thread where the cover thingy is meant to go doesn’t match… but it’ll do the job.
Adrian also noted that it’s better when changing a washer to use the hexagonal socket at the base of the shaft thingy rather than a conventional spanner at the top; less risk of breakage.
If you don’t have a highly talented brother-in-law called Adrian to help you with plumbing and other household mishaps, I highly recommend getting one. A highly-talented step-father called Peter would also be able to do the job… but mine is in America at the moment.
PS. Adrian also told me something I’ve believed for ages: don’t tighten a tap too much. Tighten it just enough to stop the water. Beyond that is bad for the washer; it’ll just wear it out quicker.