Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Changing a "Rusty 'Ole" East Campus Faucet

The sink had a terrible drain ever since my roommate was assigned the room (partly the reason we chose the other single to move into and build a double loft). It also didn't look very aesthetically pleasing, especially for something that spits out "clean" water. These unpleasant traits weren't enough for me to fix the sink before, because we turned the room into a guest room (used primarily for sleeping). However, when I knew my Mom was going to use the guest room during Spring Break, I had more of an incentive to fix it.

Faucet leaks around the side when running
Sink basin is full of dirt and gunk
Does not drain properly (water sits in the sink for hours)
Not usable

First, I started by turning off the flow of water by twisting the shutoff valves.

Then I disconnected the supply lines in order to get to the threaded faucet leads.

Unscrewing the compression couplings (the nuts on the threaded faucet leads) were a pain to get off. Partly because the sink was old, but mainly because I didn't have a basin wrench. 

Next, I unscrewed the faucet nobs.

The faucet came off (with a little bit of prying and brute force). 

30 year old plumber's putty! Yum... Let's see what Clorox has to say about that. 

It is truly amazing what a few minutes and Clorox wipes can accomplish. The sink looks brand new!

I took a trip on the Red Line Boston T to Andrew Station to get a faucet at Home Depot. On my way back, I saw Charles!! (He was getting supplies for BurnoutChibi). 

Replacing the faucet was pretty straight forward. Though I was pretty disappointed with packaging. It said to buy plumber's putty and Teflon tape. The first thing I noticed after opening the box was a little green tag on the faucet instructing, "DO NOT USE PLUMBER'S PUTTY". It turns out I didn't need plumber's putty or Teflon tape. They used a generic box that didn't apply to this specific type of faucet (annoying). 

Other than that, I hooked up the supply tubes for both the hot and cold-water supply lines. (The supply lines were stiff, but malleable, metal tubes which are often used in older buildings. This sink could potentially be 30 years old!). I then tightened the compression couplings to keep the faucet from leaking. 

Faucet works (though water comes out fast and splatters everywhere). That's what aerator's are for!

The aerator introduces a lot of air into the water stream (as the name might imply). 

Next, fixing the draining problem.

Unfortunately, the sink didn't have two threaded regions to allow for the sink trap (the U-shaped pipe underneath the sink) to be disconnected (which would have made cleaning out the trap much easier). So I had to figure out a way to clean out the trap through the "cleanout" (a little hole at the bottom of the trap). Through process of elimination, I figured out that the clog wasn't between the sink drain and the trap (it was much further in the pipe system).

Fortunately, I had access to a snake. My roommate joined Alpha Delta Phi (ADPhi) one of MIT's many fraternities. Over the first semester, I have gotten to know them fairly well hanging out with Raku and playing pool. They happened to have a snake and drill (making this job much, much easier).

After about 10 minutes, I got this:


But hey, it worked! And now the sink doesn't even think about clogging!




  1. When my sister and I fixed our shower head last time, it went smoother than we expected. We figured it was because we have the right equipment which made following an instructional video easier. And weren't you thankful for that snake and drill? It solved your clogged sink, and I can say that you did a great job in making that old and ugly looking sink look new. Good job! Carmella Vancil

  2. The first picture was so terrible and seems as a sink of a horror movie! But scrolling down got the real thing. I loved the work and it turned out into great piece.

    Carol@ boiler repair engineer

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