One of my projects for this long weekend has been to replace the hose. We bought a new one some time ago, and I decided to tackle the job before dinner. My estimate was that it would take no more than fifteen minutes. I knew that I would have to remove the faucet to work on it, since the quarters were too tight under the sink, but I had included that in my time estimates.
My first hint that things might not go as smoothly as I had hoped was when I tried to attach the spray head to the new hose. The universal end on the old hose was a bit shorter than the one on the new hose, and the spray head fit on very loosely. I pulled the washer off the old hose and doubled them up, and that seemed to mostly fix it. Sort of.
I had already shut off the water to the sink, so I removed the feeder hoses from the bottom of the kitchen tap and unbolted it from the counter from underneath. When I had removed the hoses, I noticed that the washer from one of them had remained attached to the feeder pipe for the tap, rather than staying inside the housing. It hung there just long enough for me to take note of it before it let loose, bounced off my head, hit the floor and bounced again down the hole where the hot water pipe feeds up from the basement.
I employed atara’s help, and though she could see the washer sitting way down in the hole, we could not retrieve it after fifteen minutes of struggle. This was about the time that I noticed that the washer from the hose for the sprayer nozzle also appeared to be missing... and the new one did not appear to have been packaged with a washer. We weighed our options and decided that maybe it was just time to replace the tap. I’ve already done repairs to it over the years for other issues.
When we got to the store, I could not remember the exact layout of the custom plumbing under the sink, so I was not sure if we could actually use any of the stock feeder hoses that came with taps, or if we would need to buy one without feeder hoses. The sales staff were only moderately helpful though, since they had no way of knowing the weird plumbing under our kitchen sink. To their defence, they were programmed to deal with normal plumbing situations, not crazy MacGyvered arrangements. We decided to pass on a new tap and just buy replacement washers.
When we explained what we needed to the guy in the hose and washer aisle, he told us in no uncertain terms that they did not carry either product in the size or style that we needed. We checked for ourselves after he left, and we came to the same conclusion. In the end, we bought the shortest, cheapest feeder hose they had (just for the custom washer), another new hose for the sprayer (again, just for the washer), and a new sprayer end because it was the same brand as the hose and we reasoned that it should fit (it was the same fitting as the new one we had already bought earlier).
I swapped the washer from the new feeder hose to our old (longer, better quality) one and hooked everything up. I opened the valve for the cold water, turned on the tap, and immediately a jet of water began spraying under the sink. I climbed under the sink and had atara turn on the tap so that I could identify the source, and discovered that the new hose (not the one we bought today, the one we bought earlier that had been lacking a washer) was leaking where it was attached. Huh. Not only had it been lacking a washer, but it had been defective too.
I stripped everything apart again and replaced the sprayer hose with the new one that we picked up today, and everything finally worked. I guess the joke was on us – we’d bought the hose thinking we would just strip it of its washer, but it turns out we’d needed the it after all.
Anyway, the whole repair job cost about $20, plus a lot of frustration. A fair bit cheaper than buying a new tap, I suppose, but I think a new tap would have been less work in the end.