Replacing a very old bathtub overflow

10 posts in this topic

Posted

I moved in to a new apartment in October. Was not around much since then, and also, as this is such an old and cheap apartment, I did not pay too much attention to details when moving in...

 

But this bathtub overflow is really bothering me. Not only is it old and ugly, but it turns around and moves sideways when pushed very lightly. I unscrewed it the other day, and the rubber bit in the cover is all dried up and broken into bits, not to mention ancient hair stuck all over...

 

If it is obviously broken, or if it is possible to see that it leaks, the hausverwaltung must pay to replace it (given it costs more than that yearly sum that you have to pay yourself in the contract), right? But when I cannot prove that it is not doing its function? Is there any legal time frame for such a device to be considered functional?

 

Thinking back, I should probably have saved that broken rubber bits as a proof... I threw it away thinking I wanted to replace it myself (which I failed).

 

Here is the photo of the cover of the overflow...

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Posted

photo here again...

post-203958-13556179325632.jpg

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Posted

It looks really, really old. Did you talk with them about it to see if they would fix it?

 

Tell them the rubber behind it crumbled and the overflow no longer has a seal.

 

Hopefully, they can find another one to replace it, without replacing the whole tub.

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Posted

 

 

But this bathtub overflow is really bothering me. Not only is it old and ugly, but it turns around and moves sideways when pushed very lightly.

 

From this quote, it doesn't appear It's just the rubber washer that's the issue for her, it's how old and ugly the whole overflow valve is that's she doesn't like. So replacing the washer is not what she's after, she wants a whole new overflow valve.

 

If it was me, I'd just ask them for their help with replacing it and see what they say.

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Posted

Well, that antiquity (which looks to be pre-war) is like nothing I've ever seen on a west German bath in the last 29 years so, although you haven't entered your location in your profile, I'm guessing the apartment you're in is somewhere in the former DDR.

 

Which floor are you on? If it's the ground or basement then the landlord may be less anxious about rushing to your aid. I wouldn't worry about any legal time frame for that device though as, by your description, it can only be non-functional.

 

That means water draining from the bath could already have been causing damage to the flooring and supporting timber joists as well as the ceiling and walls below. When the plug is removed from a bath the volume of water can only escape efficiently if there is an air venting pipe open to the overflow. Normally the release under pressure causes the water level in the overflow pipe to rise very fast to about 3/4 of the level of the water in the bath. In the situation you've described I imagine that water gushes over the height of the old rotted rubber.

 

You should tell your HVW that you've heard there may be a risk of potentially much more expensive repairs if it is not fixed urgently. If you express it approximately so, "Ich habe gehoert das moeglicherweise schon ueberlaufende Wasser koennte schaden an der unterboden, die tragende balken und das Decken zum unterer Wohnung angetan haben." you should get their attention.

 

Does your contract show what your annual limit for running repairs is? Although the parts needed may only cost on average around €60, in order to replace the overflow the bath will need to be moved from both the wall and the floor. Those labour costs alone may add up to more than your annual limit.

 

Bath drain and overflow pipes are one self-contained system (Drain and Overflow System for Bathtubs) and the German name of those parts is 'Ab- und Über- lauf Garnitur für Badewanne'. You can get them at any well assorted Baumarkt (DIY & Builders Merchant), but I can't suggest one as I don't yet know which city you're in.

 

I'm posting some pictures, (so you can visualise the system), and some links to various priced alternatives listed in internet shops. The large pictures, and the links above them, are from a specialist plumbing trade supplier and, as is typical for trade and wholesale, their pricing is not obvious to the casual browser so I didn't spend time searching for prices. One point to note though, should your landlord be keen on that old style, was that they had a section marked Retro Design (which again I didn't check out).

 

€17.30 post-89810-13556461718703.jpg €29.99 post-89810-13556461707166.jpg

€94.00 post-89810-13556461495756_thumb.jpg

http://www.sanitaer-...-Nr-Z-1004.html

post-89810-13556461680535_thumb.jpg

 

 

http://www.sanitaer-...-Nr-Z-1005.html

post-89810-13556461553418_thumb.jpg

 

HTH

 

2B

 

Edit: Unless you know that the hair was on the outside of that grille the chances are it is hair which has in the past risen with the draining water. Quite likely the rest of the pipe is in an equally poor condition and, if only for hygenic reasons, I too would want that old system changed.

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Posted

 

If it was me, I'd just ask them for their help with replacing it and see what they say.

 

I'm sure they'll point to the standard clause in the lease stating that minor repairs (up to a certain amount) are the financial and organizational responsibility of the tenant. Replacing a rubber seal is certainly something that would be classified as minor.

 

Replacing the entire mechanism, on the other hand, is something that would probably require dismantling and then reassembling the entire tub fixture, which would be both expensive and count as an upgrade - with the corresponding potential for the landlord to increase the rent.

 

As long as the overflow is working as it is supposed to, the landlord is under no obligation to upgrade anything. The tenant accepted the condition of all fixtures and fittings implicitly when signing the lease.

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Posted

She's in Munich.

However, I think the best she can can hope for is for the owners to send somebody round to put in some silicone.

 

If they had been more willing to spend money, the whole bathroom would have been replaced by now and the problem wouldn't have occurred.

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Posted

On rereading the OP the problem does seem less dramatic than I first thought. (note to self:Must take more time when reading OPs.)

 

"I unscrewed it the other day, and the rubber bit in the cover is all dried up and broken into bits."

If it was only the bit in the cover, then that does suggest a sealing ring, such as El Jeffo and timezoner hinted at. I'd unscrew it again and take it, as a pattern, to the nearest Baumarkt and ask the folks in the Sanitär abteilung to find one. If it is only a seal, even an odd sized one, it shouldn't cost more than around €5 to €8 which the HVW would certainly expect the OP to pay for herself. If that doesn't cure it then I'd follow my previous suggestion.

 

2B

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Posted

Wow, that was a lot of info! Thanks all for taking time.

 

Yes, I am in Munich. And I am on the ground floor (below is the keller storage spaces). It is funny how this apartment is, kitchen and bathroom sink, windows etc. are all renovated except the bathtub (and the water heater, which works fine).

 

I already got a rubber washer (they do not sell anything of that size, so got a somewhat fitting size) but water leaks from it (just went to check now). I am afraid to screw it tighter (it is already tight) as the original brass screw broke in the process and I do not want to damage anything in the pipe that cannot be easily replaced... For the broken screw, I had to go to a screw specialist in town. The guys there made fun of the brass screw as being from Ludwig II... I am just being careful not to splash water in that direction for the moment.

 

There is a very simple metal piece inside of that ugly cover that hold the washer and the pipe together, and the cover seems to be (from a point of view of someone with no clue) a casing for a device to close/open the drain? (which no longer works anyway)

 

I want to have a overflow that works. If my current one works, I can accept it somehow even if it is ugly and very unhygienic. But I know now that it does not.

 

I came to the answer, didn't I :blink: ? Yes, it is not working, so I need to contact the hausverwaltung...

 

Thanks again for all your help. Further advise/info is appreciated if anyone had experience with replacing an old device like this...

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