For the last couple of months Heather and I have been suffering through a leaky kitchen faucet. It didn't leak all the time, just when you turned the thing on water would begin trickling out around the single-pull handle. It would pool around the back of the sink and just kinda make things soggy. Nothing major, but still a nusance.
Over the weekend I was at the hardware store with the girls picking up some items for other projects and decided to talk to one of the guys at Kelly's Ace Hardware (nicest, most helpful guys I have ever run across) about the problem with our faucet. They made some suggestions about what I could do and I went home ready to be Mr. Handyman.
Once home I realized that I didn't have all the right info when I was talking to the guys at Kelly's Ace. The faucet we had was a cartridge style one. We hadn't talked about how to fix that. No problem. I, being the web-savy person that I am, went online and quickly found out what I would need to do to repair the sink myself. Or so I thought.
After much driving around looking for a new cartridge for out faucet, I returned home and attempted to replace it. Things were going fine until I had to remove the old cartridge from the faucet. The instructions I had read - both online and those that came with the new cartridge - made it sound like a breeze. Simply grab a hold of the old cartridge with your pliers and pull straight up. Nothing to it.
Well, I spent next to thirty minutes pulling on that damn thing without it moving a millimeter. It was like the unholy host of faucet cartridges was cemented in the top of our faucet. I decided to go under the sink to get a different look at the situation. Why? Because I wasn't sure what else to do at that point.
While under the sink I noticed that the middle spot under the faucet, the spot where the cartridge would be sitting, was all corroded and dripping just the littlest bit of water. The dripping water was new. I had never noticed any dampness or standing water under the sink before. So I suspect that the cartridge had fused with the corroded faucet and all my yanking and pulling had loosened things enough that water was starting to drip out.
It was at this point that Heather and I decided to just scrap the cartridge replacement project and just replace the whole damn faucet - which is what we had talked about doing in the first place. Considering that we plan on moving this spring/summer, we thought that if we could save a little money and fix the faucet with a new cartridge. Now it looked like that plan was dead and we needed to move back to the original idea of replacing the faucet.
I consider myself a pretty handy guy and have repaired / installed plenty of things in our house. But when a project becomes something more complex - like a project involving plumbing - I like to call in someone who has done that sort of work before.
Luckily my dad had installed kitchen faucets before and was free to come over to my house Tuesday night to help me install this one. So Tuesday morning Heather and the girls went off to Home Depot to pick up a new faucet while I went off to work. Later that night my dad showed up after dinner so I could play Luigi to his Mario.
The saying goes that any home improvement project will involve at least three trips to the hardware store. Luckily for us, we had gotten two of those trips out of the way already (my trip to buy a cartridge for the failed replacement and Heather’s trip to buy a faucet and basin wrench). Which meant my dad and I would only have to make venture out once Tuesday night to pick up more parts. Or so we hoped.
The old faucet came out easily enough; but when we compared how the water lines went into the old faucet with our options for the intake lines built into the new faucet, we realized that we were ready for our first (and hopefully only) trip to the hardware store.
We played it smart and took some measurements of where pipes were before we left. Plus, we brought both the old and the new faucets with us to show the boys at Kelly’s Ace. We walked in and were immediately ushered back to the plumping section to find what we needed. I returned the cartridge I had bought the previous day, used the credit for the new purchase, and we out the door in probably less than 10 minutes. It was a nice fast run.
Back home we roughed things in and saw that all our different pieces of plumbing were coming together nicely. It looked like it would be a one-tripper.
All the fittings were fastened together. Plumbers putty was applied. The faucet was secured down. Then it was time to turn the water back on. I pulled the handled up confidently and water began pouring out immediately – and with no leaks underneath the sink. Everything in the under-sink region remained bone dry.
We had to fiddle with the aerator a bit, but within an hour and a half of starting the project with my dad our new faucet was in place and pouring clean, crisp Lake Michigan water into our sink. I felt so proud – for completely the install so quickly and without any major problems, but mostly for my dad. He actually did the lion’s share of the work. It was my dad who spent most of the time bent under the sink tightening everything and explaining what our next steps should be. I spent a lot of time watching and helping where I could. But I guess that’s what a dad is for, even when you are 33 and your dad is building up to the big 6-0.
Now that the water is flowing again and I feel ready to take on the next challenge.