Thursday, March 01, 2007

Minor Plumbing

On Monday I went to turn on my kitchen faucet and discovered the handle broke. Even though I don't cook that often, no water in the kitchen is quite annoying!

So I unscrewed the cap and saw what really broke was a metal bracket. But I wasn't sure if that one little piece was somehow part of the entire faucet or not. I read through my Home Depot Plumbing Book, but all I could see was that I had a "cartridge faucet". It was too late to go by a hardware store so I just rinsed items off in the guest bathroom sink.

On Tuesday I had the great idea of trying Super Glue to fix the broken metal bracket, but it didn't work. Well, it worked but not well enough - the bracket broke again when I tried to turn on the water.

I have limited plumbing abilities, which are basically either unclog a drain or unclog the garbage disposal. Removing and replacing the faucet looked tricky, at least for a total novice, so I called a local plumbing company I had out previously to fix a running toilet. They told me that a) if I wanted to replace the faucet I should buy one and then they would install it, or b) maybe I could check with the manufacturer to find the part I needed.

Since I had a little time before Home Depot closed, I drove over and browsed the faucet selection. They didn't carry my exact model, but similar ones were priced about $100 ($80 to $120 and even more). That plus the $60 (at least) for the plumber would make this minor repair about $160 or so. Argh!

It turns out my kitchen faucet is made by Moen, and they have a pretty good website. The model number is 7400, which seems to be out of production or perhaps updated, because the 7430 looks similar. More importantly, the replacement kit 100469, from their illustrated parts diagram, looked like what I really needed. I ordered it and with 1 day shipping it came out to about $15.

I went home for lunch on Thursday and found the package from Moen arrived, so I opened it up and dug out the bracket. It fit perfectly and soon I fixed the kitchen faucet. :)

As a bonus, I got a weird sized Allen wrench out of it, because the kit from Moen included one. I tried unscrewing the broken half of the bracket, and despite wrenches of various size from bike tools, nothing fit. I think Moen must use a half metric size, like a 4.5 mm.

Anyway, I know this was a very minor repair, but I still feel like I saved myself at least $140!

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