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View Diary: Saturday Morning Home Repair blogging 2.11 (207 comments)

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  •  Ordinary drill bits work find in cast iron (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ed in Montana, rincewind, mint julep, I

    It's actually pretty easy to drill. Just be careful when starting. Do NOT try to start the hole with a center punch or the like, though (don't start the hole by banging with a nail or the like), because cast iron will shatter if hit hard enough.

    I don't understand your description of the problem with the new faucet. Is there something attached to the new one you don't want, or can you not get the old one off??

    Don't fool with electricity. See if you can visually trace the wire from the porch to the circuit breaker.  Test with a voltmeter or test light (in hardware stores) to see if there is juice. As a last resort, stand on a wooden (not metal) chair or ladder, put on rubber-soled shoes and cloth or leather gardening gloves, grasp the wires by the insulation and touch the metal wires together. That should trip the circuit breaker if it's not already shut off. Don't do this in wet weather.

    Wire old enough to have cloth insulation is usually too old to be safe, consider replacing it with Romex(R) or the like. If the cloth is powdery or tattered in any way, you must replace it. If you can't get to it right away, try to disconnect the wires from the rest of the house.

    Lighting fixtures should never hang by their wires; if there's no weatherproof box in the porch roof, install one and hang the fixture from the box properly.

    Hope this helps.

    •  "drills work fine", not "find". Also, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rincewind

      Test the porch light for juice with the switch in both positions, if it is installed improperly, you might get a false result.

    •  You can also go buy a circuit test at your local (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rincewind, I, Leo in NJ

      hardware store for under $20 to see if the wiring is hot. But if you like the idea of grabbing live wires, then at least make sure you are not standing on the ground but on a wooden ladder.

      It's easy to say "replace the old wiring," but the doing can often be much more complicated. You can sometimes use the old wiring as a pull string for the new Romex, but if it is stapled to a stud, or makes a tight corner through a drilled hole, you'll find it isn't so easy.

      It is likely that the wires running to the switch are also of the same vintage. It might be best to consult with an electrician.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

      by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:18:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lubricate drill with oil like 3-in-1 or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rincewind

      motor oil when drilling cast iron. Wear eye protection!!!

    •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rincewind, Leo in NJ
      1. The wiring...if the wire for this light runs up to the attic, and since I don't see it in the basement, I assume it does, that means it's in a metal run.  All my eletrical is in run through metal pipes throughout the house.  Electricians say, "Hey, that's neat!" until they need to get wires out.  
      1.  Thanks for the tip on the drill.  I will not hit the 75 year. old cast iron sink.  
      1.  The faucet thing:  The new waterspout has a pipe coming out the bottom.  I can't unscrew it from the water spout to put it on the sink.
      •  So you're saying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rincewind, fabooj

        the way your sink is built, the water needs to come in from the back, not the bottom?

        Sounds like you bought the wrong faucet. Sorry.

      •  Wiring is simple in principle (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rincewind, fabooj

        but actually doing what needs to be done is not always easy. Even if there's an easy way to install new wire, you should trace the old one and disconnect it as cloth insulation isn't safe. If the cloth-covered wire is in a conduit, you may be able to use it to pull new wire thru the same conduit, but you have to find it first! LOL!

      •  In metal conduit, or are they sheathed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rincewind, fabooj

        in flexible metal casings? Conduit will look like a pipe, and I too would be amazed that it was run so. The flexible metal casing is call "BX" and was used where wiring would be left exposed to view.

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

        by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:53:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, a metal pipe (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rincewind, Spud1

          The wires are all in one metal pipe.  I have metal pipes that run across my attic distributing wires to various rooms.  Under the house, I have metal pipes loaded with wires for my kitchen and basement.  

          •  That is interesting. I wonder why they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rincewind, Leo in NJ

            did that.

            "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

            by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 09:33:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All the houses (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rincewind, Spud1

              Around here built before 1940 are like that.  From what I was told, most people keep the wires in the pipes even when they switch out to newer wiring.  My contractor said it was only a PITA when he put in the new wall switch because he had to cut into the pipe to pull the new wires through.  The only place there isn't a pipe is over my breakfast nook.  The pipe is on top of the interior wall between the nook and the living room and it runs the length of the house, with pipes running off the side to feed to other rooms. He said the pipe goes to the front door, but it looks like the wires were too long, so instead of cutting them to length, they pulled them and tied them in a knot.  When he went to install my new dining room light, it was a ball of wires wrapped in masking tape.   He said they were smoking and giving off sparks when he moved them. He spent 4 hours untangling the wires and marking them off.  We couldn't afford to have him replace them at the time, so whatever looked frayed, he said he cut them down and bridged (spliced?) them with new wire.

              •  It's a PITA to run wiring in conduit, which is (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rincewind, Bronx59, Leo in NJ

                why it is only done for specific reasons (like burying it underground). It's typically PVC now, as plastic hadn't been invented yet when your place was built.

                It's always good to hear about h ow things are done elsewhere in the country, and around the world.

                "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

                by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 10:02:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  re: the faucet (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fabooj, Leo in NJ

        I'm not sure I'm understanding the situation; is it a single-handle? All the sink-mounted faucets I've installed are 2-handle, and have 2 short lengths of threaded pipe on the bottom, that go through holes in the sink surface from the top. Then there are locking nuts that screw on to each pipe from the underside -- before you hook up the water supply lines -- to snug up the faucet to the sink.

        (If it's actually a kitchen faucet, it probably needs 3 holes instead of 2; the center one is for the hose for a sprayer. When I gutted/rebuilt my bathroom 6-7 yrs ago, I wanted a high-arc, swivel-spout faucet, and at that time it was really hard to find one for a bath, so I gave some thought to if/how a kitchen faucet might work. I did eventually find one, and they're pretty common now.)

        If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

        by rincewind on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 09:56:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The number of holes required varies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rincewind

          depending on the faucet. Many require two, some only one. The spray is often a separate unit requiring its own hole.

          This will explain why your plumber will want to know what faucet you plan on using so s/he knows which sink to order - they typically come with 1, 2, 3 or 4 holes, and sometimes none if a deck or wall mounted faucet will be used.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

          by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 10:09:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's widespread (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rincewind

          My problem (once again) is plumbing.  I bought a new faucet for my bathroom sink last week.  Well, we had plans to install it this week, but the flippin' pipe attached to the water spout will not come out!  I called the manufacturer (Yay, they're only 20 min. away!  Boo, no one there speaks anything close to English) and that was no help.  The instructions were not in the box, so it's just vexing.  So, now I'm assuming that that pipe is supposed to be able to fit through the hole on my sink.  :-/

          The faucet...where the water comes out, has a pipe attached to it, right?  Well, the pipe has this little doo-hickey (I'm not technical, so work with me!) off too the side and may fit through the hole, though it doesn't look like it will.  The nut at the base of the faucet that needs to be tightened against the sink will NOT fit through the whole.  So, my questions is:  How so I get the pipe off the faucet?  

          That's all I need to know.  I'm assuming that it should just fit, but it won't and I was hoping that the pipe should be able to unscrew from the faucet, but it won't.

          •  IF I'm following this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fabooj, Spud1

            (big assumption there) you have to take the nut off, insert the pipe through the hole, and THEN put the nut back on from the underside. It wouldn't hold the faucet snugly if it did go through the hole, yes?

            If it's an old sink, the hole might not be current "standard" size; but if it's a new sink it should fit. I would guess that trying to take the pipe off the faucet will ruin it.

            If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

            by rincewind on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 10:35:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rincewind

              That's what I was thinking. But the problem is that the pipe that the nut goes on won't come off!

              •  sorry, I wasn't very clear (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fabooj, Leo in NJ

                You don't take the PIPE off the faucet, you take the NUT off the pipe. The pipe, attached to the faucet, is inserted through the hole from the top, and then the nut is reattached from the bottom. If the pipe won't go through the hole from the top, it won't go through from the bottom either, so trying to take it off won't do you any good. Plus, I'm pretty sure that you'd ruin whatever fittings/valves there are inside the assembly if you try to take the pipe off.

                (wish I could SEE it, so frustrating to not be able to help)

                If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

                by rincewind on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 11:20:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm a complete and total moron (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rincewind, Leo in NJ

                  I should be banned from any online communications for the rest of my natural born life.  

                  It's not the faucet that was the problem.  It's the handles.  The pipe on the handles won't fit in the hole because of that little doohickey sticking off the side and I can't remove the pipe from the base.

                  handle

                  Finally got a pic, to show.  So, despite the obvious facts that I'm a certified imbecile AND can't describe this stuff to save my life, are there any suggestions?

                  •  Ahh, a picture makes it much easier. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    claude, rincewind, fabooj, Spud1

                    but still not easy to understand or describe. I'm not sure I have all the answers, but here's what I do know

                    You will notice that the parts on the left are chrome-plated (silvery in color) and these are the parts you will see when it's installed. The back (hidden) part is brass (gold colored) and most of it is threaded (has spiral grooves cut in it to act like a screw).

                    You must protect these spiral screw threads from damage whatever you do. Padding with a rag sometimes helps.Also, do not use pliers on any of this stuff or you will ruin it; you need a well-fitting wrench (without teeth on the jaws) for all of this (one exception below).

                    Notice the large brass nut (the left-most, widest brass thing inside the big brown circle. That is intended to hold the whole shebang to the sink, and needs to be removed before you can assemble it.  The pipe just to its right has screw threads on it everywhere except for one place where the threads are ground away; this "slot" is intended to be grabbed with a wrench (no teeth), and is the only place you should attempt to grab it. Use care or a bit of rag to keep the wrench from bottoming out and damaging the threads.

                    Just to the right of this threaded pipe is a non-polished brass "Tee" which has to approach the sink from the back, so you need to take it off to begin. This is where you need a pipe wrench (aka "monkey wrench") which does have teeth on its jaws. Protect the threads on the fitting that points up in the picture by wrapping it in a rag; put the monkey wrench around the non-polished body of the Tee from the opposite side, put a smooth-jawed wrench in the slot on the threaded pipe and you should be able to unscrew the Tee from the threaded pipe.

                    Take the big, left-hand nut off the threaded pipe, put the threaded pipe thru the sink from the front, put the nut back (loosely,) replace the Tee tightly, turn everything in the right direction, connect the pipes and tighten the big brass nut.

                    Clear? Ha!

                    •  I'm a little doubtful (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rincewind, fabooj

                      if what I said above is right or if all of the brass stuff is supposed to come off in one piece before you approach the sink. Definitely the first step is to loosen the big brass nut on the left, and the slot in the threads is for applying a (smooth) wrench.

                      It looks like the actual valve that controls the water is on the end of a long stem and the actual working parts are inside the "Tee"; you must not bend/damage any of these in any way.

                      •  The more I think about it (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        rincewind

                        the more I believe my second thought is right. If all the brass is one piece, forget the monkey wrench. Put a smooth wrench in the slot on the threaded part, hold the chrome part somehow and unscrew all the brass from the chrome part (loosen the big brass nut first). Put the chrome in place from the front, put the brass in from the back and don't try to separate any brass from any other brass.

                    •  Hmmmm (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rincewind, Leo in NJ

                      I know how to install a sink faucet, but I've never had this problem before.  The non-polished brass part won't come off the pipe.  If I could get that off, I'd have no worries.  I'd just take that off and slide the pipe into the hole.  It seems you're saying that the pipe itself should come off the base of the handle with a monkey wrench.  That ain't happening either.  Which is why I posted my question in the first place.  

                      :(

                      I was hoping there was some razzle-dazzle chemical/oil that could help me get it off or if someone had suggestions on my making the hole in the cast-iron sink a little wider.  The hole that's in there now is perfect for the pipe, but that little doohickey on the side just knocks the whole thing off.

                      BTW, this is my sink:
                      My sink

                      •  We replied to each other at the same time. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        rincewind, fabooj

                        I think you're right that the non-polished part isn't intended to separate from the rest of the brass, but the slot in the threaded pipe is there for the purpose of applying a wrench. Make sure the big brass nut (on the left in the picture) is loose. Put a wrench in the slot on the brass threaded pipe, hold the chrome part somehow (padded) and twist. The brass and chrome parts should separate and approach the sink from opposite sides.

                        Good luck, and let us know how it unscrews turns out.

                        •  If you didn't loosen the big brass nut (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          rincewind, fabooj

                          that would explain why it didn't come apart from the chrome part. Penetrating oil ("Liquid Wrench") wouldn't hurt, but shouldn't be necessary.

                          •  You shouldn't have to enlarge (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rincewind

                            the hole in the sink. If it really won't come apart, get another one, perhaps a different style/manufacturer.

                          •  The big brass nut on the far left it what is used (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rincewind, Leo in NJ

                            to tighten the faucet base to the sink or deck (this can be a deck mounted faucet, which explains why the threaded portion on the left is so long) from below. The slot you note is for a wrench, either an open end or crescent (adjustable). Instead of taking off the faucet, take off the tee. You'll then need to take the large nut off too. Slide the into the hole, refasten everything from below.

                            "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

                            by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 01:13:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The brass nut (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rincewind

                            I have no problem loosening that.  In fact, I screwed it back up for this pic (don't ask me why).  Now that I think about it, I should have left it all open.  The brass nut only goes down so far, then there's that square metal piece I'm also positive won't fit inside that hole.  Between the metal square piece and the base is a gasket.  I know that my gasket is the last piece that should touch the top of the sink.  Underneath, the square metal piece gets pushed up by the nut.  

                            When I opened the box, I had assumed that all the brass pieces would just come off the handle and even the guys at the hardware store said the same thing.  So, I brought it home, gave my husband a crash course in installing faucets and ran in this snag.  

                          •  I think you need to unscrew the tee, not the (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rincewind

                            faucet. Give this a try.

                            "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

                            by Spud1 on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 06:05:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  fabooj, what brand is the new faucet? (0+ / 0-)

                        I googled "widespread bath faucet" +install but the ones I looked at don't look like yours. You said the destructions weren't in the box, right? I bet we can find 'em online.

                        If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

                        by rincewind on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 12:57:50 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  They're not online (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          rincewind

                          That's why I called the manufacturer (Part # 10337) in the first place.  The "salesman" I was passed to, didn't speak a lick of English.  He kept asking me how many I wanted to order!  They said they were going to mail them to me, but like I said, they're 20 min. from my house and it's been a week.

                          •  okay, this might be really off-the-wall.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Bronx59

                            From that website, I looked at the catalog, under faucets, found the widespread lav faucets, and the specs said they use ROC or Price Pfister parts. So I googled Price Pfister and found a "Parts Explosion" diagram (PDF warning) for a widespread lav faucet (that looks remarkably like yours ;> )

                            It looks like there's a retaining clip at the tee; but also it looks like the stem should come out of the top decorative rings (take the handle itself off of the base to see the stem and rings, should be a set-screw to release the handle?) -- anyway, maybe the diagram is close enough to yours to figure out how it comes apart?

                            Good luck!

                            If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

                            by rincewind on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:08:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ooooh! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Bronx59

                            Very cool.  I'm eating dinner right now, but I'll definitely check it out before bedtime.  Thanks!  I'm looking at the PDF right now.

                  •  oooh! pic helps a ton! (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    fabooj, Spud1, Leo in NJ

                    Can you unscrew the "doohickey" from the pipe? If so, then also unscrew the nut, stick the handle pipe through the hole, screw the nut back on snug up against the bottom of the sink, and then screw the doohickey back on.

                    The water supply line gets attached to the end of the pipe; my best guess is that a piece of flex is supposed to be attached to the doohickey on one end and the base of the spout on the other (one from the cold, one from the hot)? (I've never installed a faucet with separated handles, so I'm winging it here....)

                    If the doohickey won't come off the pipe, I don't see how anybody could install it on any sink?????

                    fabooj, describing complex stuff that other people can't see is always wicked tough -- think blind-men-and-an-elephant   ;>

                    If you call a chimp a president, how many presidents do we have? One: DICK.

                    by rincewind on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 12:13:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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