My rant against faucet manufacturers

I’m going to continue my plumbing theme … or perhaps I should say my frustration with the manufacturers of faucets and handles. Bear with me!

shower faucetThis is a photo of the handle in my shower stall. It’s pretty typical of what builders install. I would like to replace the knob with a lever. It would seem that I could just remove the knob then buy a lever and put it on. Not true. There are “universal” levers but they don’t fit this Kohler unit. Why don’t manufacturers make the unit such that handles can be interchanged? That seems like a simple request!

In order to get a lever handle here’s what has to happen:

  • I must buy a completely whole new unit including a cartridge – $$$.
  • A plumber must cut an access hole in the wall opposite the faucet. (In my home that wall is slightly visible from my living room.)
  • Then they replace the cartridge that connects the 2 water pipes. (Cartridges are unique to each faucet style. WHY?)
  • Then the plumber replaces the new fixture and lever onto the new cartridge.
  • The plumber will place a plastic access panel over the hole but they won’t do the drywall work. I would have to do that or I would have to figure out how to conceal the panel by hanging a picture or mirror.

In order to get a $25 lever I would have to spend well over $200 plus drywall work (which I can do). As I joked with the plumber, I’m convinced the manufacturers are in cahoots with the Plumbers Union to make these units such that an ordinary do-it-yourselfer can’t make minor repairs. Plus the manufacturers make more money on a complete faucet versus just a handle.

I would like to have bronzed faucets like the one I just put in the half bath. But that’s out because the separate tub with chrome fixtures does not have an access panel either so ceramic tile would have to be cut to access it’s cartridge. I don’t even want to think about THAT mess! Guess I’ll just live with chrome and ball handles!

I’m still pretending to be a plumber!

I’m a glutton for punishment! My half bath needed an update from the plain chrome faucet with plastic ball handles. I also was tired of the gawd-awful builder-grade glued ceramic/plastic towel rod and TP holder. I watched various videos on installing faucets to see if I could do it. As with my earlier Korky installation, the videos make it seem much easier than it really is. I also believe the job would be much easier with a 2nd person to help with the above-the-sink holding-things-in-place job.

pipes under bathroom sinkFirst problem is the small size of the cabinet in a half bath. Crawling in it to reach the gizmos holding the faucet in place is a challenge and requires a sturdy pillow to prevent pain on shoulder blades. Regular wrenches are useless. However, in the videos I watched I was introduced to two very handy tools.

tools needed to remove faucetsThe first is a Rigid Faucet & Sink Installer (red tool in photo). Follow that link to Rigid and you can watch a video of how versatile this tool is. In my case it didn’t work to get the nut off when I was removing the old faucet because my copper pipes were curved. This tool only works with straight pipes that can go in the tool’s opening. But once the pipe was removed, I could then use it for the piece that screws up tight against the sink. It worked just great when installing the new faucet.

The other metal tool is called a basin wrench. It can be extended to reach the top hex nut when arms are too short. The top black part has wrench teeth to grip the nut while you turn the bottom rod to leverage your strength. That top also flips over to other side depending on the direction you need the teeth to grip.

Delta Porter bath faucet

click to enlarge

I’ve partially got the new Delta faucet installed. Looks good from the top! Underneath I’m still working on it. The flexible connectors that I bought to replace the copper pipe is not fitting the pipe fitting that comes out from the wall. It seems the threads may differ. I may need to visit a plumbing store or last resort call a REAL plumber! 😦

I did just fine in removing the old GLUED towel & TP rods. I used a box cutter to slice around the glued parts so when I eased the ceramic off it wouldn’t tear off a large piece of drywall paper. I applied spackle a couple times, sanding in between each layer. Then I covered the spackle with a primer and sanded again. Finally I rolled on the paint to match the walls. When dry, I installed the rods. VOILA!

UPDATE EDIT: I called a plumber to help with the final connectors. He was impressed with my tools (pictured) and thought I did a great job considering how narrow my cabinet was. He said I did the hard part. That made me feel good.

I now self-identify as a plumber

I’m sure I’m not alone in doing some minor “fix” which exponentially explodes into a full-blown project. That recently happened to me … AGAIN! The toilet in the half bath wasn’t doing a good job of flushing. It appeared that the fill valve was lower than it should be to allow the tank to fill with sufficient water. Several years ago my daughter had installed a Korky Quiet Fill in this toilet. It worked very well until recently. I suspected it had “slipped down”.

I turned off the water supply below the toilet then unscrewed the two attachments at the base of the tank. Then I pulled out the Korky unit and tried to extend the tube. It had ratchets that lock the tube in place once the right height is determined. Well as I was working with the height, the ratchets locked in place and I couldn’t get them to unlock.

I checked YouTube to see if there were any instruction videos. There are MANY! I picked this one from Korky itself. Notice that this video is 1.52 minutes long. In it the gal does the complete installation. Trust me … it takes longer than that! 🙂

Korky Quiet Fill ValveThe main thing I noticed from the video was that the ratchets on my old unit were different. I suspected there was a problem with the old design, so Korky revised the design. So off to Home Depot (my fav store) to buy a new unit. I put the new unit in with no problem being careful to position the height as instructed.

Then I reattached the solid chrome connector to the tank and the faucet bar. Once done, I turned the faucet back on. Water dripped from the tank and from the nut near the faucet knob. @#$%^&*!!! I won’t go thru the multiple steps I tried to fix the drips but let’s just say the toilet was out of commission for a few days.

toilet tank connectorBack to Home Depot where a terrific guy told me to use a flexible connector then throw the old solid one away. (The flexible connector has better washer system in it.) Voila! It worked great, easy to install AND it worked. No leaks!

I was so confident in my skills(?) that I bought another Korky and flexible extender for another toilet. Took me only 30 minutes this time and NO LEAKS! The extender I bought is a little longer than needed but I was afraid to buy too short cause I didn’t want to have to make another trip. I’m so proud of me!

NOTE: If any plumbers read this, you’re worth every penny! While I saved money on this project, there are a couple projects yet to do that I will need to hire a plumber because they’re beyond my ability. So there’s that!🙂

Time for End-Year Look at NICS Background Checks

The New Year is here … FINALLY! It’s time to review year-end results. The media will be doing a lot of this “Year In Review“. For me, I updated the year-end results of FBI NICS Background Checks. The two charts in the far right column of this blog show the most recent results for both the National and Ohio background checks.

There are two other graphs that I’ve updated from last year-end. Both these graphs compare TOTAL YEAR results for National and Ohio. Both charts show the effect of Obama’s years in office. There was an upward swing when he took office because he was known to be anti-gun, and recently said the one goal he wasn’t able to achieve was to take guns away from people. Time will tell whether the upswings continue under a President Trump.

NATIONAL NICS BACKGROUND CHECKS
NICS National Background Checks

OHIO NICS BACKGROUND CHECKS
In Ohio, the FBI did 480,144 more checks for 2016 than they did in 2009!
NICS Ohio Background Checks

As it has been said, Obama has been the BEST gun salesman in history.

Christmas Decorations Look So Pretty

The neighborhoods are looking so pretty with all the Christmas decorations on or around their homes. One of my neighbors put all their decorations up on weekend in November when it was 70°. They were smart. I was still mowing my lawn when they did it. I finally put mine up when it was in the 40’s so it wasn’t too bad. Mother Nature added her touch to the lights to make it extra pretty.
2016 Christmas decorations

I went to Meijers store to buy additional lights. While there I saw a new display that I actually HAD TO HAVE! It’s two dachshunds and it’s Murph approved. The only thing missing is the barking that doxies are known to carry to excess.
Dachshund Christmas light display

The best part of Christmas this year is that we are free to say …
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Finally … the Election is OVER!

Well the election is over! Thank goodness! I guess I’m OK with the outcome because I really, really did not want Hillary as President. Too corrupt, too many issues and I remember all the scandals when Bubba was in office. Didn’t want to go through that again.

The Democrats and some snowflakes – who didn’t vote – are having serious issues accepting the results. First they cried – then they protested – then they went into denial. The Mainstream Media were as bad as the Democrats – because they ARE Democrats. Conservatives weren’t happy that Obama won but we accepted the results and behaved as grown-ups.

Trump won the Electoral College votes by a very wide margin, securing 306 EC Votes. However, he won a vast amount of the counties in America. As this map shows, Democrats are the party of the coasts and some major cities. The flyover states that Dems typically look down upon, gave the presidency to Trump. The map below was posted on Twitter and soon went viral.
2016 Election Results by county

I’m not sure how successful Donald Trump will be as a President but so far things seem OK. The stock market is up because investors believe his business-friendly plans should spur growth. People’s optimism is noticeable. The people selected to be in his Cabinet so far seem to be good choices. World leaders have called him, hoping to work with him. Since many didn’t like or respect Obama it is encouraging that apparently the leaders view him as a force to contend with. Companies are already making pronouncements that they are considering bringing some of their jobs back to U.S. Lower taxes and fewer job-killing regulations will be critical to these jobs actually returning. Undoing all of Obama’s damage will be a daunting task but since much of his damage was caused by his hundreds of Executive Orders, President Trump can undo them all with a swipe of a pen. It’s very good that the GOP has majorities in both the House and the Senate.

For America’s sake, I pray President Trump will be a good POTUS – as President Reagan was.