Our kitchen faucet was dribbling water in the middle. I could abide no longer! So, I looked up the cause online, just replace the stem.. easy, it’ll be a simple fix. Right? Wrong.
What I learned is in plumbing, there is no “simple fix”.
Step 1, re-buy or borrow all the tools you thought you had, but can’t find since you moved to a new house.
Step 2, acquire the replacement parts – half-way through realizing that just buying an entirely new faucet might have been a bit more expensive, but would have saved you a lot of grief.
Step 3, try to rid yourself of the notion that there’s a plumbing conspiracy to make you have to buy an entirely new faucet.
After 3 trips to Home Depot, one trip to our friendly neighborhood Ace, another trip to this fabulous plumbing store in Orange called Biard & Crockett Plumbing (more about these two places below), and one to our wonderful neighbor’s house for a giant Super-Mario-brothers-sized wrench because I just couldn’t bear the thought of going back to Home Depot, I was finally set to finish the job. I started at 8am, the clock now read 2:30pm.
BTW: Step 1 should have been to figure out which freaking faucet model I have. I started the day thinking it was a Moen, ended up a Kholer…
So when does DaVinci come into the story? Why it’s yours truly of course! My husband has dubbed me DaVinci, because I have this insane notion that I can fix anything or do anything that requires basic mechanics: Put furniture together from a box, change out a shower head or toilet handle, sleuth out and fix what’s been ailing our new patio umbrella. These things are fairly straightforward. This faucet project was an entirely new beast.
Here’s a how to http://youtu.be/36TLUpEHpGk
So now my faucet is completely disassembled, (I youtube’d how!) I’ve found, and now know what a Kholer ceramic disc cartridge is, I’ve taken extra steps to replace the O-rings (those white and black rings there in the in the picture), and have lubed them up with silicone grease (not natural grease!). Yikes that is a scary mess! Please-oh-please leak be gone when I’m done!!
…and with everything back in place…
No leak!!! Fireworks, church bells, hallelujah, I did it!!!!! I’ve even replaced our crummy old spray washer!
In addition to my plumbing heroics, my adventures lead me to the discovery of 4 really awesome places.
First, Fullerton Ace Hardware, which I will try my darndest to shop at above the depot. The motto: We’re more than just nuts and bolts. Cookware, eco-friendly paint, keys and cleaning supplies, even freshly popped pop-corn for 25¢. I love a place with history, and Fullerton Ace Hardware has been around since 1950.Unfortunately they didn’t have the part I needed, but handed me Xerox directions to this really great plumbing place in Orange…
…which leads me to the second great discovery: Biard & Crockett Plumbing. A plumbing store with EVERYTHING that you need, a gorgeous showroom, and a friendly staff focused on solving your problems. Lots of handy diagram binders and replacement parts. This will forever be my goto plumbing place.
On my way to Biard & Crockett, I drove by my third great discovery – Anaheim Wholesale Nursery in Orange on Glassell just north of Katella. It came highly recommended to me by some women at the Farmers Market, but they couldn’t remember where it was. I can’t wait to get some fantastic fruit trees from here.
I think I love the Fullerton Ace Hardware even more because they led me to all these great discoveries, the fourth being right next door to Biard & Crockett, Paradise Fountains of Orange. Don’t let the old-school website scare you. This place is fantastic: fountains, pots and statuary, and more with a mobile office set up in the back. All straightforward, old-school business. If you see a fountain elsewhere, get the model # and order it from this husband and wife team for 20% less.
Triumphant, I go to pick up my loving hubby from the airport, bringing him back to a dribble-free home!
POST-LOG: I ran into the same issue 4 years later, and replaced the O-rings, ceramic cartridge and got a replacement for this one part that I totally annihilated trying to twist with a wrench before remove the handle. So order or taking apart
- Little screw thingy on the back with an alan wrench
- Lift off handle
- Twist of exterior ring (use a big ol’ wrench… carefully!
- Twist off interior screw holding the ceramic disk
- Pull out disc – when this is busted, you get drip.. drip.. drip from the faucet
- Remove O-rings – when these are busted you get water dribbling from beneath the faucet handle. I chose to go with a food grade teflon grease instead of silicone grease.
- Remove vacuum gauge at the very back bottom – when this is busted your sprayer doesn’t work with enough power.