Sunday, January 23, 2011

Faucets


A number of LD'ers have swapped out faucets in their rigs for a variety of reasons. Some prefer higher-rise faucets, some don't like the single-level handle, etc.

Here are a few faucets that folks have selected:

- I looked for a standard-configuration single-lever kitchen faucet with the highest clearance among the selection at OSH. Cost about $50. The single lever with ceramic valving now makes it easy to turn the flow on or off, preset to the correct temp, with just the flick of a finger. Best of all, nothing to interfere with your workspace under the spigot, which is now several inches greater. Steve

- Model: #564TCDFDHD, Glacier Bay Chrome Kitchen Faucet with Pullout Spray. It has a temperate memory that remembers the last shut off position also. Mike

- We disliked the low faucet in the bathroom sink - it was hard to get your hands under it to wash them. I
replaced it with a small high-rise faucet set with separate knobs. It's a Phoenix two-handle with a spout that is about 5 1/2" above the level of the counter - much easier to use. Installation was fairly straight-forward. Probably the hardest part was removing the original faucet which LD had sealed VERY well to the counter.

Trouble-Shooting

Dripping kitchen faucet:

- Most of the single lever models don't use a simple washer like the old two-handled faucets used to. They use a "cartridge" instead. The cartridge consists of various plastic (delrin?) parts that slide over one another to mix hot and cold water, usually with "O" rings at strategic points in the water flow. The arrangement allows precise mixing of hot and cold water with a single lever control.

- When this sort of valve starts dripping, the usual culprit is "grit" in the water, be it particles of mica, sand, rock or whatever. The grit can chew up the plastic and/or "O" rings, and makes dripping inevitable. You can sometimes play with the faucet control and get things to seal up early on, but it's just a matter of time before the dripping becomes constant and uncontrollable.

- As Gus mentioned in an earlier post, you should be able to take the faucet apart with an allen wrench, and extract the valve cartridge. With that in hand, pretty much any hardware, home supply or plumbing store should be able to match it up with a replacement. Buy two; one for now and one to keep in your spare parts kit. If you've got grit in the system, it's probably going to continue chewing stuff up for a while until you flush it out.
- 2003 Danze faucet leaks below the chrome handle.

-- Cause: Adjusting ring or cap assembly has loosened. 
-- Repair:

1. Remove the handle by loosening set screw with allen wrench.

2. Tighten the adjusting ring by turning it clockwise with a small screwdriver. Move the ball stem to on position and continually tighten the adjusting ring until the leak stops draining out from from around the ball stem.

3. If leak does not stop, loosen the adjusting ring and tighten the entire cap assembly by turning it clockwise. Re-tighten the adjusting ring as above.

4. Replace the handle and tighten the set screw.

- Also the Danze company has a web site http://www.danze-online.com with illustrations of their faucets. If you search under the kitchen pull-out category you might recognize the one you have. If so they offer *.pdf versions of parts lists, spec sheets, and installation instructions, and also tech support by email and toll-free phone.

Low hot water flow in bathroom faucet:

 Suggestions include debris in the cartridge, a defective cartridge, a blockage in the line or a blockage in a screen on entry to the faucet.

I got a new cartridge and with that on hand, pulled the old cartridge.  It looked fine.  The lines coming into the cartridge also looked fine.  I put the new cartridge in and tried it out.  No change - the hot water flow was still markedly reduced.

I disconnected the water lines and removed the faucet (not an easy task - more on this later).  Looking at the underside of the faucet, there are six tiny holes between the hose connection point and the cartridge that act as either flow limiters or debris screens - or at least there were on the cold side.  The hot side was filled with tiny particles of lime, soft enough to break apart yet hard enough to block the flow.  Clearly, this came from my water heater.  I cleaned out what I could, then dribbled a little CLR in the fixture.  It foamed up.  I rinsed it outside and repeated until it no longer foamed.  I then flushed it thoroughly and reassembled with the old cartridge.  It now has even flow again.

For those who wish, here are some details regarding disassembly.  My faucet is a Utopia Single Control bathroom faucet from Bristol.  It uses a cartridge, not a ball valve.  To disassemble, turn off the water, bleed off the pressure and close the sink trap to assure that small parts will not be lost if dropped.  Use a knife blade to lift the Hot/Cold cover bezel in the center of the handle on top of the faucet.  Below that bezel is a Phillips head screw.  Completely loosen the screw, and pull the handle up.  Set it aside.  You can now see the top of the black cartridge.  Surrounding it is a piece of chrome trim.  Pull the trim straight off the cartridge.  It does not turn, just pulls off.  When replacing, you may need to wiggle it to get it aligned so it will slide down fully.  With it off, there is a plastic ring, white or cream color, surrounding the cartridge.  This unscrews.  With the white ring off, grasp the end or black rectangular end of the cartridge with pliers and pull.  It slides out.  That's all there is to it.  Replacing, there is a "key" that allows it to be replaced only one way.

Now - removal of the faucet base...  Reach underneath and feel the tubing coming into the faucet.  At the connection point is a nut with three "wings" that allow finger loosening and tightening - if your fingers work well.  Mine are marginal and I had a tough time.  Unscrew them until the hose ends are free.  Above them is another nut, one on each side, with two "wings".  These nuts hold the faucet assembly down.  Remove both.

Normally, one would now be able to lift the faucet up and off the sink to work on the underside.  This is a Lazy Daze coach.  Everything is glued down.  To get the faucet up without damaging it (something I failed to do) you need a putty knife and a couple of flat blade screwdrivers.  You may want to sharpen the edge of the putty knife.  Begin by pushing the putty knife into the adhesive caulk under the faucet, working your way all around.  Considerable force will be needed.  I used a pen knife blade.  You can tap the putty knife with a hammer to work it under.  Just do not force it into the threaded nylon shafts that extend through the sink top to join with the hoses.  Once you have worked the putty knife all around, the only thing holding the faucet down will be adhesive that squeezed down into the holes alongside the threaded shafts during assembly.  It is time for a bit of force.  With the putty knife under the faucet to distribute the load, work a screwdriver between the putty knife and the counter top and lever up a bit.  Move the putty knife and repeat, working around both threaded shafts until you can lift up the faucet.  It took considerable force for me to accomplish this and I did break a small part of the black plastic mounting base.  This occurred primarily because I did not have a putty knife and was levering directly against the plastic with the screwdriver  As long as the white nylon parts are not damaged, the faucet will remain functional.

To re-assemble, I cleaned the counter top thoroughly, removing all traces of the adhesive caulk used at the factory.  I did not re-apply adhesive because I intend to replace the faucet in the near future, having broken the mounting base.  I may or may not use adhesive caulk when I assemble the new one.  The value of the caulk is twofold.  First, it prevents loosening from vibration.  Second, it prevents any water spillage on the counter top from dripping through to the cabinet below.

Contributors: Steve, Mike, Bob, Joe Hamm, WxToad, Wil, Ken F.

Revised: 12 Oct 13

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