Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Monday, January 22, 2007

New shower controls (at a good price, courtesy of Lidl)

Whilst over at our Brittany holiday home last week I found that the temperature control of the downstairs shower had been broken. Someone had obviously had turned the temperature control too hard (perhaps not realising that there was a limiter switch that needed to be pressed in to get the shower to be hotter than 38 degrees-C), and as a result had stripped the thread off the control knob.

Although I took the controls apart to look inside, it was clear that it wasn't repairable and that I'd need a new control knob, or more likely a complete new shower control. After looking at several plumbing merchants and Bricolage (DIY) depots I couldn't find anywhere selling replacement knobs so looked like a whole new control was needed - prices seemed to vary between €100 to €160. Unfortunately no time to do anything else before I came home.

Back in blighty I had a look at a couple of places and found that similar shower controls were a similar price, from £70 upwards to £250 (or more!). Sigh, more expense.

Then last week I received one of the bi-weekly special offers emails from Lidl and found that this week's special offers included shower controls for just £19.99.

I popped into my nearest Lidl to take a look and found that it was just what I wanted. It looks to be of good quality, is solid and well built, and like most Lidl products comes with a 5 year guarantee.

It's worth commenting on these guarantees, which from my limited experience I've found that to be excellent. Last year I bought a heavy duty SDS hammer drill from Lidl (again for a good price) and after using it to break up some bricks, part of the handle broke. The drill had a 3 year guarantee and to make a claim I just had to photocopy the receipt and the first page of the instruction manual and send them off to the service department. A few days later a complete brand new drill arrived - I guess it's easier and cheaper to just send out a whole replacement item than to hold all spare parts required. I've subsequently managed to bodge the handle back together again so I've got 2 drills for the price of one - one for the UK and one for France!

I've bought the shower control from Lidl and will be fitting it next time I'm over at Easter. Do recommend the Lidl special offers if you live close to a store; you're automatically emailed twice a week what's in stock, and often things are at good prices. However stocks are limited so you do have to go within a day or so of the special offer arriving.

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