Okay, the title of this post is a little crass and self-satisfied. But here’s what happened:
Our kitchen faucet stopped working. For awhile (which could be as long as a year but who’s counting) the faucet has been finicky. It would drip if you didn’t have it shut off just so. I can work with that: I’m touchy myself sometimes. But then one day it wouldn’t swivel laterally back and forth between the two sides of the sink any more. And then a week later, the handle fell off into the sink.
Whoops. Maybe I should have taken the first signs as signals to fix it before something bad happened.
I tried without success to reattach the handle. It would stay, but then when you tried to use it, the handle fell into the sink with a loud crash. On further examination, I realized the stick (which comes out of the ball and onto which the handle attaches) was snapped in half. Aha! I called Delta, and they mailed me the new part for free. Meanwhile, the faucet handle was falling into the sink with a crash every 4.2 seconds.
The parts arrived; I called our usual plumbing company. They sent out a technician I’d never met before. He was young. Like, maybe twelve. After ten minutes of looking at the faucet, he declared it couldn’t be repaired and that I needed a new faucet.
But I have the parts sitting right there on the counter! I wanted to cry. Nope, he said. It’s done. He had no idea why it wouldn’t swivel anymore, but it was dead. Could not be resuscitated. He could install a new faucet for me for only $750. (Well, $698-824, depending on which model.)
Thanks for coming, I said. I paid him for the service call and got him out of the house before he could see the steam coming out my ears.
What happened to fixing things? I have noticed this trend in many areas. Everything is cheaper to replace than to repair. But that’s why the landfills are overflowing. They’ve told me the same thing with my watch, a TV, a vacuum, a computer, shoes, a car…
Obviously, I had no confidence I could fix it myself, or I wouldn’t have called the plumber in the first place. But I couldn’t do worse that he had. If I couldn’t fix it, I’d just get a new faucet, right? I pulled out the home repairs book and opened it to the faucet page. I opened the little packages that Delta had sent us and tried to match up the pieces.
I have to say it was a good 12-15 tries before I had the water coming out the actual faucet and not from the joint of the handle. But once I scraped off [what I think was] the old, disintegrated O-ring and replaced it with the new one, the faucet even starting swiveling again. Almost like new. Like a newly repaired faucet. One that doesn’t have to go to the landfill yet.
Anyone need a drink of water?
P.S. The plumbing company is sending me a refund.