a newer one »Friday night velocity

Sink repair


High on this morning's successful 5 minute light switch repair, I decided to change out the faucet in the bathroom. I had an hour to spare, I had light in the bathroom, I had a dog to keep me company, I didn't really see any reason not to switch out the faucet.

Ah, the ignorance of youth.

This "ignorance of youth" is also known as chucking one's common sense out the window by not asking oneself, "Do you recall how bad 2009 is going? Do you REALLY want to change out a faucet when your luck is so bad you've caught ONE green light in the last two weeks?" The answer to these questions is of course, "Oh shit! You're right! This is a bad idea, let me wait until February," and not "Bring it on!"


I pulled the faucet out of the box and looked at it. There was the faucet, but there was also the drain stop. Neither the sink nor the bathtub in this bathroom actually hold water, with both stoppers being removed by the cleaners who were "fixing" the sink and the time. I was pleased that I could replace the broken "fixed" drain stop with this new drain stop.

The first thing I did was unscrew the lever in the back of the drain stop. Oh, look at that, OF COURSE the lever didn't work, part of it was MISSING. I'm quite sure how the person who replaced the drain stop last time though it was going to work, given there WASN'T ANYTHING TO ATTACH.

Okay, fine, out came the drain pipe, which had been replaced a year or two ago by the cleaners. Simple enough, unscrew the bottom, unscrew the top, pull apart. I noticed a washer on the bottom of the top part of the drain pipe, the part that shows up in the sink, which was nice, as it meant that I might not need the plumbers putty (which Mark indicated should be avoided when possible). I started cleaning out the drain hole in the sink so that the replacement would install cleanly.


After cleaning for a bit, I noticed there was some putty in a groove in the sink between the top of the sink drain hold and the bottom of the sink drain hole. Thinking this was a little odd, I started cleaning it up a bit. I cleaned for a bit longer, until I realized that the putty was all the way around the sink, completely blocking the slot.

I looked up the sink, down the sink, around the sink, and through the hole, then realized that this groove was the bottom part of the drain that started at the overflow holes at the top of the inside of the sink. The person who had installed the last drain pipe replacement had completely blocked the drain holes, which meant that any overflow water would have stayed inside my sink. Worse, it would have stayed there, even after any drain had been unclogged.

Who the hell does this kind of crap?


As sure as I was about the idiocy I was witnessing, I wasn't 100% sure there wasn't some other rational thinking going on, so I called up my dad and described what I was seeing. Surely whoever had done this was retarded and I should clean out whatever putty was there, right? Dad agreed that, yes, the putty had to go. He, too, couldn't think of any reason for it being there other than stupidity.

So, I started digging. And digging. And digging.

Dad stayed on the phone chatting with me as I cleaned out the putty, and started disassembling the connections from the wall to the faucet. He laughed when I sputtered as water fell onto me when I didn't turn off the water QUITE ENOUGH (that last 1% is the difference between a drip and a drop), but encouraged me during the rest of the detachments. When I was stuck on removing one of the connectors near the faucet, he asked if I had the right tool: a wrench with a moon shape head and a T handle. The head rotated perpendicular to the handle, and either tightened or loosened the nut depending on which perpendicular you set the head.


I mentioned to Dad how I had a lot of tools, thanks to Mike, but didn't seem to have that one. Dad found his wrench, took a picture of it, then learned how to send multimedia pictures with his phone to send it to me. He was so adorable in his excitement. It's technology great? It's it great to be alive these days?

Off to the store I went to purchase a basin wrench for myself. It's times like these that I really wish, like most weeks, that Mike and Kate still lived four doors down from us. I suspect Mike would have a basin wrench (the term of which I learned at the store).


I returned home, took a picture of me and my new wrench, sent it to Dad in return, undid the faucet fittings with my spanking new wrench, cleaned everything up, including the now slightly dirty drain stop, quickly installed the faucet, wrapped the pipe fitting threads with teflon tape, reassembled the piping, and tightened everything up.

I brieftly marvelled at just how disgusting all of the parts I removed were: water damaged, eroded and dirty. I was more than a little surprised we hadn't had worse problems with this sink, and quite thankful we never tried the overflow drain holes.


The faucet isn't perfect, I've noticed. It has a dent on the side, and the handles are a little loose. I'm sure the faucet was a return at Home Depot, based on these problems, but I've decided to be pleased with my successful install, and the happy with the new faucet. The style matches the rest of the bathroom fixes fairly well, which makes me happy. I choose to focus on this, and not the wobbly handle.

Until it annoys me too much. Then I'll ask Andy to help me tighten them.


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