Labor Day is the U.S. holiday that pays tribute to the American workers’ movement. For some that means a day off of laboring to relax and enjoy with our friends and family. For others, it’s a day off of our careers that can be dedicated to completing house projects that have been sitting on to-do lists. I sit in the latter of these two camps where three-day weekends usually mean a few trips to the hardware store.
My husband has wanted a barbecue since we had donated ours back in 2015 when we moved to Southern California. With all the Labor Day Weekend sales, we set out to buy one at OSH.
As we passed the plumbing aisle, I commented to my husband, “We still need to replace our kitchen faucet.”
It’s been on our to-do list since we bought our home last December. The faucet has been stuck to the left and who knows how long it had been separated from the sink. Doing dishes and cleaning the sink means regularly sopping up the water underneath that had dripped through the rusting holes. We have avoided this project because we have not been able to decide whether to invest in our “future kitchen” high-end faucet that we’ll keep when we eventually remodel, or buy the cheapest one we can find that we know is only a short-term solution.
My husband replied, “There you go. That can be your new thing for the day. I can talk you through it if you need help, but you can do it all by yourself.”
I’ll admit that when it comes to certain house projects, I defer to traditional gender roles. Mostly because, unlike my husband, I was never taught how to do them growing up. Therefore, our default when it comes to house projects is sticking to what we individually know. I know some of the basics like how to paint, spackle, hammer nails, drill holes, screw screws, and use a hand saw. Until today, plumbing has been a foreign skill.
The perfect time to learn is now. It may take more time, but might as well grow my capabilities.
“Sure!” I responded. “Let’s do it.”
We chose the cheapest almost identical replacement faucet and today’s new challenge was decided.
Our old, crusty and askew faucet and the new faucet we picked out:
Turn off the water to both hot and cold water lines. (It helps that there’s a knob marked “off” with an arrow pointing right.)
Check that the water is indeed off by trying to turn on the faucet. If no water runs, you can move to step 3.
Unclip the spray hose from the main faucet and then unscrew the black plastic nut under the spray nozzle hole. Use an adjustable crescent wrench to unscrew the hot and cold water tubes from the faucet.
Remove the old, nasty faucet.
Clean the sink around the faucet holes.
Roll out a small pasta-like string of plumbers putty. Circle the putty around the holes so that it can create a seal once placed down.
Place the faucet in the holes. Screw the left black, plastic nut on beneath the sink.
Insert the pipe for the spray hose through the right hole and secure that with a black, plastic nut beneath the sink.
Insert the spray hose.
Reattach the hoses to the appropriate pipes on the faucet. Tighten with the wrench.
Remove the aerator. Turn on the water and check for leaks.
Run hot and cold water for 60 seconds each and ensure both are working. Check again for leaks.
Replace the aerator. You’re all done!
If I can figure out how to install a new faucet, anyone can! I also realized that I should lean in to learning how to do more house projects and not feel intimidated just because I have never done it before. I feel like She-Ra, Princess of Power! It’s amazing how empowering it can be to learn to do something as simple as replacing a faucet.