Thursday, December 03, 2009


Over the past year, it appears that the cold faucet in the kitchen just eats washers. The faucet will start dripping again a couple of weeks after the washer is replaced, and finally, just replacing the washer didn't work any more. We have a permanently dripping faucet that actually just runs unless it's turned off just so.

So I finally decided to jump on the net and see what else could be wrong.

Well, it turns out that our valve seat need replacing. This is the bit of the pipe that the washer presses against to stop the water from flowing.

Now, this should be a very simple job. I just need to buy a valve seat wrench (which looks like a big Allen key), unscrew the old seat, slap a bit of pipe-joint compound on the new one and screw it into place.

The problem is, I know exactly what my luck is like…and every time I expect a ten minute, ten dollar job what I end up with is a five hour, fifty dollar job.

Like the time I needed to replace the stop cock in the toilet. All that was supposed to happen was I was supposed to drain the cistern, unscrew one bolt on the underside of the toilet, remove the old stop cock and bolt the new one into place. Instead it took three hours.

Three things worry me. The valve seat hasn't been replaced in almost twenty years so it'll be a bitch to remove, the faucet is so old I don't even know what size/brand of valve seat I need until I can take the old one off…and finally, any unexpected, catastrophic failure which is the usual way things tend to play out.


MC Etcher said...

Or, you could spend $50 on a new faucet...

Evan 08 said...

I've done valve seats. They're not tough if everything goes right. They're very difficult and time-consuming if the seat is seized though.

Paulius said...

Etcher : The problem is I know absolutely zero about plumbing. Getting a new faucet wouldn't be a big deal...installing it would.

Evan: It was actually really easy. The old valve seat came off without any problems at all, and the new one was a little fiddly to get on, but only took a couple minutes.

Paulius said...

Oh, also, completely replacing the faucet means replacing the valve seat as well.

MC Etcher said...

Despite your protest that you don't know anything about plumbing, you're attempting the repair yourself nonetheless.

I too know nothing about plumbing - but I would rather start with all new, clean, definitely functional parts than attempting to replace questionable components.

My method is wasteful, but you're likely to spend less in the end on individual parts and repeated trips to the hardware store.