Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tale of Faucet Replacements

Some stories are just too good not to be shared. And while this reveals yet another Cutie Head Moment, I share it with you anyway.

The knob for the shower in our guest bath has been broken for, oh, I don't know, a couple of years ... and I finally got around to buying a replacement a month or so ago. Rather than just buying a new knob, I decided to replace the shower fixtures. The builder installed polished nickel fixtures when the house was built. (Can you say water spots?) We replaced the sink fixtures quite some time ago with brushed nickel. I opted to get some brushed nickel for the shower and was able to get rid of the STUPID plastic handle in the shower too. The proverbial two birds with one stone trick. With me so far?

After returning from Park City, the hot water in our master bath quit working. It has done this once before after a vacation but quickly "fixed" itself. How? I have no idea. I just know that one day I had no hot water and the next day I did. So I thought nothing of it. This time ... yeah, not so much. We get full pressure on the cold side. Nothin' but a trickle on the hot and the trickle never actually gets hot. Honestly, my first thought upon discovering the issue was that something happened to the hot water heater. But quick checks revealed otherwise. Every other faucet in the house gets hot water just fine so clearly it's isolated in the shower somehow. Still with me?

So I talk all this over with My Dad The Plumber. (Not really. But he's certainly a Jack of All Trades.) We decide that we'll replace the whole kit & kaboodle in the guest bath, since I bought a complete kit, and then take the "guts" from the guest bath and put them in the master bath since we know they work. Follow?

Step 1. Dad takes the fixtures off the handle in the master bath to assess.
Step 2. Dad says, "your valve is sweated in."
Step 3. Dad explains what the heck "sweated in" means. (The valve is sauldered in to the water pipes in the wall. So that means we can't just do a simple swap of the valves like we'd planned. To make any changes to the valves in the wall, you have to hire a plumber to make a big mess, i.e. cut a whole in your wall/tile for access & then cut and resaulder new stuff in. Replastering & paint. That's separate.)
Step 4. Dad says, "your new fixtures are Price Pfister; your existing ones are Moen."
Step 5. Dad explains why this makes a hill of beans. (Apparently, the valves are somehow propietary to the brand of fixtures currently in place. Simply, the new fixtures I bought will not work. I have to find something I like in the same brand.)
Step 6. Dad & I go on a quest to a) figure out what model of faucets we currently have, b) find a new kit for the guest bath, and c) figure out what part we need to fix the master bath.

Long story short, no new fixtures in the guest bath, no hot water in the master shower, and a date with My Dad The Plumber for some Saturday in the future!

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