Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Kitchen Faucet Chronicle, Part 1

About sixteen and a half months ago, I hied me to my area Home Depot and purchased a new American Standard single-handled faucet for my kitchen sink.

This was to replace the old Price Pfister single-handled faucet that was on the sink when I bought the house five years ago, and which, alas! leaked so badly that the borough water board suggested it might explain why my bill was up in the winter, a time whose voice doth not call forth the watering of lawns.

A year or two before that, the plumber who came to replace my water heater gave me a price to put it in, if I bought the faucet myself.

So as of March 2007 I'd found the faucet, but it languished in the dark depths of my basement workshop for many months, first because I was contemplating replacing the kitchen sink at the same time, and then because there was not money lying around to pay plumbers for work that was not an emergency.

A few weeks ago, Steve*, the husband of my friend Hannah*, offered to install my new faucet for me. Steve's* adventures working on two separate houses would make great house bloggery, if he had the time.

He does not have the time, and for a long while, he didn't have the time to come install my faucet, either.

But at last, the great event was set for 9:00 this morning. Huzzah!

Which turned into 10:30, because Steve* was delayed at the scrap metal dealers, driving a bargain for various pieces of copper and so on removed from his own house. Heralded by ferociously hospitable barking by my dog, he arrived and set to work.

The old faucet, long past its time. It leaked around its base, as you can see, and the water spread between the sink and the backsplash, and thence around each side of the sink onto the countertop, and also . . .

. . . down under the sink. Behold, the vile wet mess below-- discreetly covered over by USA Today, but still displaying where a cellulose sponge stuck to the cabinet floor surface.

The old faucet refused to let itself be unscrewed in the normal fashion. Fittings were too corroded.

While Steve* went over the installation instructions for the new American-Standard faucet, I worked diligently to get the old lime build-up off the back rim of my stainless steel sink. It was worth it, even if the new escutcheon would have covered a lot of it.

The new faucet is seated in place. I played plumber's assistant while Steve* tightened it down. More than once, I might add, because the first time I realized it was swinging all the way over the counter. When it comes to stray water, this would not have been an improvement.

But alas! The work could not be completed today. The existing water lines were not compatible with those of the new faucet. Steve* pledged to pick up the right ones at the local Lowe's, and return to finish the job tomorrow.

By then, the cabinet under the sink will still be vile, but not so wet.

To be continued . . .

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