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Everything and the kitchen sink

Angie and I still own our house in Maple Shade. Our good friend Don is helping us out by renting it until we can sell it. During this past week, Don called to say that the kitchen sink was leaking whenever you turn the faucet on. Water would spray out at the base and leak down underneath. If you ran the water long enough, the leakage would reach the kitchen floor.

Don tried to take off the nuts holding the faucet plate on from underneath the sink, but was only able to get leverage on the one on the right. My dad went over a day or so later and ran into the same problem (on top of the fact that my dad just can't contort himself into crazy positions to squeeze under a small sink anymore). So our options were either call a plumber and see if s/he could fix the existing faucet; or we attempt to remove the old one ourselves and replace the faucet with a new one. I was leaning toward option A, but my dad (and Don) convinced me to at least take a stab at it ourselves first.

The following events take place between the hours of 02:00pm and 06:00pm on Saturday, February 28th. Events occur in real time.

Saturday afternoon was the earliest I could get over to look at it, but Don was up in NYC to play a gig and wouldn't be back until Sunday. I left Mount Laurel in the minivan with all three kids and remember thinking "I should grab my toolbox. Nah, my dad has tools and his house is only one block away." Always go with your first impulse.

I dropped the kids with my mom, and then my dad and I went over to my old house with a couple of wrenches and a pair of pliers. Three or four trips to my dad's house later, we ended up with a small stockpile of tools: screwdrivers, battery-powered drills, a hammer, vise grips, more wrenches, a ratcheting screwdriver, etc. The biggest hurdle of all was getting the old faucet off the sink. We had to remove two lazy susans from underneath the cabinet, and I had to remove one side of a shelf just so I could squeeze my upper body inside the cabinet to see what I was doing.

The key to the whole works was removing an old rubber thing from the faucet's handle that was hiding a small screw that we needed an Allen wrench to remove. After that, I discovered that underneath the sink there was yet another nut holding the center post to the counter top. Once I had that off, the entire faucet assembly came off (finally). With faucet in hand, we went to Lowe's to buy a replacement (a Price Pfister model).

When we got back and hooked everything up, the hoses beneath the sink that connect the main lines to the new faucet began to leak. All over. At first we assumed that I just hadn't tightened the connectors well enough, but after a few more turns (and some Teflon tape) they were still leaking. The only possibility was that the hoses themselves were bad and needed to be replaced (though they were not leaking before we disconnected them!).

So back to Lowe's again. For about $10, I picked up two new hoses and connected them to the lines and new faucet. Turned on the water... and watched nothing happen! This was a good thing. We turned on the faucet and had running water again with no apparent leaks anywhere.

The last thing to do was to replace the soap dispenser, which was a minor pain in the neck. With some elbow grease (and vise grips), we got the old one off. The new one went on fairly easily and works way better than the old one.

We cleaned up as best as we could and finally got out of there. We spent a little over four hours replacing the darn thing. Total cost: about $140. $120 + tax for the new faucet and $10 + tax for the new hoses. And this doesn't include the cost of gas from making repeat trips to my parents' house and back, plus two trips to Lowe's.

It was a nice way to spend a Saturday.


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