Monday, November 21, 2011

faucet surgery

Our new house is not so new. To be specific, it was built in 1928. We bought it as an estate from the second owner, who purchased it sometime in the late 60s.  Based on the condition of the house, I think the front porch was closed in, the upstairs dormers added, siding replaced, and the kitchen renovated JUST prior to his purchase. The house must have been in tip top shape then.

Of course, as you may have surmised from the kitchen reno, nothing has been touched in the previous 40 years.

Since my mother in law is staying with us to spend some time with the babies (and my father in law will also be joining us for Thanksgiving and Christmas), we are getting a bit more use out of the semi-finished upstairs than I anticipated.

Upon purchase, the upstairs bathroom was, um...dirty. I should have taken photos, but lets just say there was rust in the toilet. It took my mother in law about 4 hours to clean the room (including scrubbing the tile ceiling. who tiles a ceiling? reno fail.). She's been here a week now and I got the first complaint Friday -- the hot water was leaking in the sink - not a drip, a steady stream, and the cold water knob basically turned to full blast upon being touched.

Like any good daughter with a handy dad (who fixed a similar leak in the downstairs bath a few weeks ago), I called for help. Sadly, I was told "pull the valve out and replace it". Sigh. Guess my free handyman is taking the weekend off.

So off I go. Remove the H/C sticker thingies, unscrew the knobs, unscrew the nut do-hickey.
well, this is lovely.
yeah, this is an excellent photo to select from the 75 available repair valves with.
Anddd I can't get the valves out. They just spin and spin and spin. So with another phone call and my cell phone photo, off to the hardware store I go. I return with a "faucet repair kit", complete with knobs. And upon closer inspection (I didn't even have to remove them from the package), I knew the valves wouldn't fit.

Back to the store.

This time, before leaving, I got out the vice grips and just yanked and hoped for the best. The cold valve came out intact, and the hot came out without its washer. Enter: valve surgery a.k.a. remove a 40+ yr old washer from the back of the faucet assembly with a screwdriver.

So now I go to the store armed with two of the valves I need. They're corroded and have no brand. After 20 minutes, I'd narrowed it down to an American Standard, though the one I picked out had an awfully small rubber washer. Just as I was about to leave, the teenaged store employee who was in the aisle (and I'd completely written off based on looks alone) offered to help. Not wanting to make a third trip, I agreed...and low and behold, he located a near-identical valve in about 90 seconds. Lesson learned.

So back home I go. They fit! (except they're about 1/8 in longer than the old valves, and as a result, my knobs don't quite hit the sink now...shhh) The leak is fixed!! The cold water no longer spews on contact.

Except now the cold valve is Righty-Loosey. I have no idea if it was always wrong or if its my fault, but I decided not to care.

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