Home improvement

In sink

I am pleased to say I can now turn on the hot water in my kitchen without using a pair of pliers.

I had been operating in this capacity ever since I made the mistake of attempting to turn off the water one day, and snapped the handle off clean. I tried several times to reattach it, but with no success. While most people would think the next, obvious thing would be to replace the faucet, I did the slightly lazier thing, which was to grab a pair of pliers so that I could turn the nozzle when the need arose. Perhaps I was utilizing my long-trusted medical strategy of ignoring things and hoping the problem miraculously fixes itself.

Shockingly, the handle did not magically reattach itself. After a couple of weeks, my wife and I agreed we needed to replace the faucet.

While I never look forward to anything plumbing related, I was excited about the prospect of getting a new faucet, as our existing one had some flaws. And I don’t mean the recently added one. The main flaw, in my book, was that it did not have one of the spray hose thingees. Just one direction of water right down into the sink, stealing from me the satisfaction of spraying down the entirety of the sink. Life’s little pleasures…

My wife and I went to the home improvement store and began shopping for a new unit. On this particular purchase, we were fairly unified in what we wanted, and it took a surprisingly short amount of time to pick out the perfect choice.

When we got it home, I immediately disassembled the old faucet, installed the new one, and we were up and running in 20 minutes.

Oh, wait. What I meant to say was I set the box by the cabinet and it sat there for the next week as I occasionally stared down at it as I used pliers to turn off the hot water.

Eventually, I knew I was going to have to install it. But I also know I have the plumbing skills of an armadillo, so there was a good chance I would just back matters exceptionally worse. It turns out, I did not even know how out of my league I was.

I texted my neighbor, who is in the plumbing business, to see if he could give me a hand. In short order he was at the house, tools in tow. He assessed the situation and identified the first things that needed to be disconnected. Even I could handle this part. I snugged up under the sink and used a wrench to get the water lines free. Easy stuff.

He then got under there and began inspecting what the next step was. “Hang on,” he said, and left my house.

A moment later he returned with a large metal device that I have never seen in my life. I said, “I have no idea what that is.”

“It’s a basin wrench,” he said.

“I still have no idea what that is.”

Apparently a basin wrench is used to get those pesky bolts up under the sink that holds the faucet in place. My neighbor wriggled with it for a few minutes, and soon had it all free and clear.

“I think the basin wrench was a good call,” I said, clearly still not knowing what I was talking about.

The new unit installed without the use of a basin wrench, as it has the little cup thingee that fits up under the sink and tightens up to cinch it to the faucet. I am hopeful that the inventor of that thing made billions, because it seems like a real time saver.

The new faucet is installed, and it works like a charm, including the spray hose which is something that I did not I missed as much as a I did. I am very thankful to have a friend and neighbor who can help me with projects such as this. And I’m really thankful he had a basin wrench. Whatever that is.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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