Our pull-out-single-hole-kitchen-faucet with the upscale nickel finish has developed a malady known as drifting-at-the-base syndrome. Apparently the faucet is supposed to rotate but not slide. Shawn nixed my first solution—to adjust the faucet over the right-hand side of the sink and epoxy it in place. The spout could be used to direct water to the left-hand sink, should water be required there.
Being an astute engineer, I figured there must be a nut to tighten somewhere down below. To reach that nut required unloading the nether regions beneath the sink. Shawn’s family moved around a lot when she was a child. She did not go along for the ride—she loaded boxes and wrapped valuables. Shawn moved many more times as my wife, and that lady can do some packing. I pulled stuff from under the sink for quite a while, as I wondered how she crammed so much in that tiny space.
Lying on my back at the most awkward angle I could imagine, I was able to squirm under all the pipes and once my vision focused, I could see the nut. Even with my long arms, that rascal was out of reach. There was a tube of some kind connected to the bottom of the threaded rod where the nut is installed and I figured that should be removed first. It was easy, but the tube was loaded with water. My return squirm to the sanctity of the dry kitchen floor was rapid, and the ever-present dish towel hanging on the oven handle joined the battle.
Of course, placing my head in such weird contortions triggered vertigo and I had to take a time-out to medicate. As I waited for the spinning ride to come to a complete stop, I conducted research. How did we live before Google? I watched a couple of videos showing plumbers installing similar faucets. It certainly looked easy, and reversing those directions should allow me to corral the drifting faucet.
My brother, Jeff, was a consummate plumber. He was my go-to-guy for stuff like this and, once his laughter subsided at my questions and latest fiasco, he could walk me through any repair. He was better than a 1-800 number. Jeff knew what the parts were called and which size to buy. He knew how to glue a thing-a-ma-bob to a compression flapper, when to use a wrench, and what hand-tighten really means.
Jeff visited the hardware store with me one morning, and rattled off the parts and pieces he needed to replace a bathroom faucet that had exceeded its expiration date. My bright red leak-correction bucket that needed emptying twice daily offended his sensibilities. While the helpful hardware man at the store applied himself to gathering the left-threaded doowangles and other stuff we needed, Jeff explained the basic tools required for plumbing. I bought my very own basin wrench that day, and Jeff replaced the faucet in under an hour. It has never leaked in 20 years.
I pulled out that basin wrench and played with it to figure out how it works. If I could get those teeth connected to that loose nut and apply some torque, I could enjoy the rest of my Saturday. I wiggled back into the piping cave. Not only was it impossible to bend my arm the number of angles required to reach that nut, the basin wrench would not fit between the supply lines. Now what?
Back on Google, I learned the manufacturer of our kitchen faucet ships each new product with an installation tool. It is the only thing on earth that fits inside the spaghetti of pipes to torque that nut. I do not remember the installer leaving such a tool. I searched the entire garage twice and never located anything like I saw in the picture. I visited Lowes and Home Depot. They sell new faucets with the tool, but the tool itself is not a stock item. The poor guy at Lowes found a couple of his faucet boxes ripped open with the tools missing so I deduced that other faucet owners were reaching the same impasse.
With a quick Google search I located the contact information for Moen. It was after hours so I opted for email contact and explained my dilemma. I promised I would hang the installation tool on a nail under my sink so it will benefit any future plumber exploring the nether regions of Shawn’s sink. My installation tool is now on its way under warranty repairs. Sweet! Moen is a classy company. Acts like that are rare in today’s profit-at-all-cost business environment.
I am not a plumber, and if my brother is watching all this, I know he’s enjoying a heavenly chuckle. Google will never replace him.