Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolution: fix that leaky faucet!

With the new year some people resolve to lose weight, get in shape, be a better person...sure I'd like to do all of that. But first I must fix the leaky faucet in the bathroom. For nearly two years it's been dripping, most recently at about one drip every three seconds. I discovered it's just the hot water, so when we're not around I've been shutting off the hot water feed. But the rest of the time it drips, wasting 9 ounces per hour or 1.69 gallons a day. Over the course of the year that's about 620 gallons. In a town where our river sometimes has low water flow issues even 620 gallons a year makes a difference.

I've never fixed a faucet before, which might be surprising since in my former career I built plumbing systems at a large Aquarium. Here's me doing some extreme plumbing in one of the older 11,000 gallon saltwater reservoirs. Yet, if I messed something up at work I could always beg one of the professional plumbers who care for the really big exhibits to come bail me out. I get really nervous working on plumbing at home, there's no one but an expensive private plumber to bail my butt out.

But this morning I took the plunge. I shut off the hot water feed line and popped the top off the hot water faucet. I undid the screws and took off all the metal gaskets, but then I ran into trouble. The plastic plumbing underneath looked nothing like the picture of the brass "pressure faucet" in my Home Depot fix-everything book.

So what am I going to do? Keep the hot water shut off and wait for my husband to get home for moral support. He may not know what to do any more than I, but at least he can laugh with me if I break the faucet. When I do finally get that plastic housing off I'll be able to tell what kind of rubber gasket needs to be replaced and then good bye leaky faucet!

Replacing a leaky faucet shouldn't be that hard, mine's just being slightly extra challenging. So, if you have one leaking in your house get it fixed. A faucet dripping at one drop per second can waste up to 20 gallons a day. I'm lucky mine was only wasting less than two gallons a day!

Happy New Year everyone!


  1. When we bought this house five years ago almost every faucet in the house dripped. We (mostly me) have either changed or fixed all of them so no more drips. The other problem we had was both of the toilets when flushed would sometimes get hung up and keep running, a major waste of water. I replaced the inner workings of both to fix problem.

    Good to see you again Kate, Happy New Year.

  2. Now that is a good way to start the new year...fixing what is broken and saving precious water. Way to go!

  3. Keep us interested parties in the loop about how you get it fixed. I've been missing you hanging out in the blogosphere. I do get to hear about your exploits of Facebook, though!

  4. SQ: I am impressed! I can't believe you fixed so many things! We only have one toilet in the house so every time I have to fix it I always cross my fingers! good thing we have neighbors who live close just in case!

    Squirrel: it's not quite fixed yet :) my husband came home and popped the plastic piece off in two seconds when I unsuccessfully battled with it for an hour. Now I have to just find a replacement...

    DJan: another resolution is to keep up with blogging better than I have. I'm better on Facebook, glad my clumsy exploits are entertaining you there :) ...the stitches came out yesterday and I'm going to be a lot more careful on the snow and ice!

  5. Looks like you've got the problem well in hand. Good thing you have a wetsuit.

  6. Happy New Year to you too ~ I hope 2010 proves to be happy & healthy for you & your family.

  7. Wow the photo is amazing, looks like a monster piece of plumbing!

    Topiary much too scared of plumbing to try to fix but knows exactly what you say: for some reason real-life things NEVER look like the pretty pictures in the fix-it books. Alas.

    Good luck avoiding the expensive plumber (do any of the guys from the zoo exhibits do side jobs for cheap?)


  8. RT: it IS a good thing I have wetsuit, forgot my hubbie took a part off to match it at the hardware store and I turned on the cold water only to experience a very cold geyser. too bad I didn't actually have the wet suit on though!

    Lisa: and a very happy new year to you! I hope the new year starts out better for you.

    Cow: It WAS a monster piece of plumbing, not sure how I was talked into doing that job!! I was young and stupid :) I think that was about 8 years ago...

  9. Good point!!!
    A small leak can add up fast. A few years ago, the boat had a small drip from one of the valves. Within a week, there were gallons and gallons of water in the bilge. It adds up quickly.

  10. matthew! that is a leak that sounds like it should always get fixed pronto! :) glad you didn't sink!

  11. That was some New Year’s resolution! But I think it is good that you included it on the list. For one, you were able to fix the leaking faucet, and you had less worries on the plumbing system. And I think the most important of all was you learned something new from that experience.

  12. You look like an expert in that photo! Anyway, it's a good thing you've decided to fix that leaky faucet. 620 gallons of water being wasted yearly is really no joke, especially now that we're facing some major water crisis in the world right now. Hope you got it fixed now!

    Lovella Cushman

  13. What a way to start the year, fixing a leaky faucet! If you’re doubting your skills on that faucet, I think it would be a good idea to wait for your husband to come home so you can fix it together. Or better yet, you can call a professional. I know it might cost a little more than a DIY repair, but with the right choice of plumber, you may not have to worry for a repeat performance of that faucet.
    Katrina Spencer


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