it wasn't my intention to replace my grohe bathroom sink faucet, it just sort of happened. i'd disassembled the unit so i could examine the stem cartridges, hoping to find some replacements. i've done work on them 10 years ago, replacing the washers to fix a leaky faucet issue. the washers are a proprietary shape that only grohe makes, and they cost $10/piece. my sink faucet started leaking again, so i figured i had no choice but to eat the cost and buy two very expensive washers. but that's when i discovered replacement stem cartridges. why just replace the washers when i can replace the whole stem cartridge itself? best thing is it costs $10 for a pair of hot and cold cartridges, about the price of a single grohe washer. best thing is these cartridges use ceramic discs instead of washers, so they'll last a lot longer.

anyway, i removed the old stem cartridges so i could make sure they match the new ones i planned on buying. the old cartridges were in pretty bad shape, a lot of hard water deposits, and the threads were very corroded. i removed the hot water cartridge first. after taking some photos, i decided to remove the cold water cartridge as well. that move set off a chain of events that ended up having me replace the faucet altogether.

the problem was the threads on the cold water cartridge had completely pulverized. i didn't even know brass metal could do that. without the threads, i couldn't put the cartridge back into the faucet, which meant i couldn't turn on my water. i figured one day i'd have to replace the sink faucet entirely, i just didn't realize that day was today. it was an emergency, because unless i'm able to install a working faucet, i couldn't turn my water back on.

first i made sure i could remove the old faucet. i managed to disconnect it from the water supply lines (running downstairs and turning off my cold and hot water). i thought i'd have a hard time disengaging the lockring securing the faucet to the porcelain sink, and was trying to work my basin wrench to loosen it, until i discovered the lockring was already loose, and i could remove it by hand (i must've loosened it already back when i first got the basin wrench in june 2015). that was enough to loosen the faucet assembly; i didn't remove it just yet, figured i'd do that when i got back.

so at 3pm i set out for home depot. i wanted to get back before it got dark, to avoid the temperature drop and the traffic congestion. it was still warm enough (60 degrees) that i just wore a dress shirt, and i even rolled up the sleeves.

i first returned a bunch of items at home depot, before checking out the bathroom faucet selection. i didn't have any particular style in mind, but i wanted something compact, and curved instead of hard edges. i saw a moen adler in chrome ($49) that looked promising. unfortunately there weren't any on the shelves and when i asked for help, the employee checked their database and said they didn't have anymore at the watertown store. instead i got the glacier bay constructor ($25). it has a similar look to the moen alder, but the lever handles were lower (reminded me of rabbit ears) and i would've preferred shorter handles. i figured worst case scenario i could always return the faucet assembly, but i needed a faucet tonight, did have time to be too picky.

once i had my faucet, i went through the store picking up a few more things on my shopping list: honeycomb cellular shade for my mother's room (29x48" $33); a replacement melnor watering wand ($12), 2 braided supply line cables ($6/each), a tube of clear silicone ($6, for some window gaps), and 2 supply line angled shutoff valves ($8.50/each). i also needed to buy a screen door repair kit ($10) but it was too long for me to safely strap to the back of my motorcycle, so i decided to get it next time. i checked out by 3:50pm, made my way back home.

i started working at 4pm and didn't finish until almost 7pm. first thing i did was to remove the bonnets of the old under sink stop valves. i noticed when i closed them earlier that a bit of water was still getting through, so they weren't shutting off tight. what i've done in the past is to simply buy a new angle shutoff valve and swapping the old bonnet with the new one. it's kind of a hack solution, but it doesn't involve any soldering, so it's easy to do. i started with the cold water first. the thread on the bonnet was a little corroded, and chances are i could've reused the bonnet, but i decided to swap it out with a new one. that one closed tight, i wouldn't have to worry about the cold water supply.

next came the hot water shutoff valve. when i removed the bonnet, the washer was missing, still stuck inside of the valve assembly. i fished it out with an awl. when i looked inside, there was another washer. i fished that one out as well. that would explain why the hot water pressure in my bathroom sink has been low for the past few years. a while back, the hot water shutoff valve in the basement was replaced because it wasn't shutting off. the washer had gone missing, somewhere in the hot water supply line. it'd always been a mystery as to wear it went, but it looks like it was crammed inside of the hot water supply line for the sink.

when i screwed the new bonnet into the old hot water shutoff valve assembly, it wouldn't screw all the way in. either the thread inside of the valve assembly was messed up, or just heavily coated in hard water deposits. i felt a bit of panic setting in. that's when i realized i still had the old bonnet, which still fit. i put the washer back on and screwed the bonnet into the assembly. that worked in that the bonnet fit, but the washer came off. i decided to get rid of the washer and just screw in the old bonnet, just to keep to hot water line from leaking, even though the valve was essentially useless.

so the supply lines were stable for the time being.

next up was removing the old faucet assembly. this was an old style assembly, so it used solid pipes. i removed short segments of pipe connecting the faucet to the supply lines, but there was still a lot of pipes snaking out from the assembly. the problem was unless i can reduce these pipes to something smaller, i couldn't remove the lockring, and therefore couldn't remove the faucet from the sink. i kept trying to unscrew the pipe segments but they just wouldn't budge. plus i was working at an awkward angle, underneath the sink with very little clearance. i discovered the pipes weren't entirely solid, and that i could bent them somewhat. so i ended up bending a segment of pipe until it broke, which finally gave me enough clearance to remove the old faucet assembly.

i couldn't help but admire the old grohe faucet, how heavy it was, just a solid piece of metal. it really was well-built, lasted for at least 30 years (figuring the previous occupants of this house also renovated the bathroom as well). it's probably still reusable, if i can get new stem cartridges, and if i gave the faucet a good soaking in vinegar to remove all the hard water deposits inside the assembly. but i metal pipings is just too much hassle, and nowadays faucets aren't installed this way anymore.

once the old faucet assembly was removed, it was smooth sailing. modern day faucets are designed to be easily replaced, no plumber needed, provided you can shut off the hot and water water, either from the under-sink shutoff valve, or from the water main. i've replaced a faucet before, the one in the kitchen sink back in august 2015. after cleaning up the sink (removing some old caulk), i mounted the new faucet into the two sink holes and tightened the plastic lockrings underneath to secure the faucet. i then attached the braided supply lines, using a wrench to tighten them.

it was finally the moment of truth. i set up my webcam so i could watch the bathroom sink as i turned on the water from the basement. first the hot water. from the webcam i didn't see any leaking, but i could hear water running through the drainage pipe, so i ran upstairs to see what was going on. apparently the faucet handles were in the on position. what was even more amazing was the strong hot water pressure. it feels like ages since the last time the hot water in the bathroom sink didn't come out as just a dribble. next i turned on the cold water. everything looked fine, my leaks from the webcam. i went upstairs and turned on the cold water and there was nothing coming out. it took me a few seconds to realize the reason was because i had the under-sink cold water valve turned to off. once i opened that up, cold water flowed from the faucet.

the only thing i didn't do was attach the drain stopper lift rod. the faucet came with a plastic drain assembly which i didn't use because my old drain assembly was still working fine. the lift rod was a little short and i couldn't get it to properly attach to the old assembly. later after dinner i tried again, managed to remove a part of the lift rod assembly and re-adjust it to be longer, so it can reach the new lift rod.

the day didn't start out so dramatically. i had savory oatmeal for lunch, grilled some chicken sausages on the smokeless foreman. my water portion wasn't correct and my oatmeal turned out very pasty instead of soupy, which is what i like.

when i got back home from home depot, a large box was waiting on my doorstep, a present from maureen. seems like she was cleaning her house and sent me a bunch of surplus yarn, along with some pakistani chili milli hot tamarind gummy candy. plus, a bonus bottle of ube flavoring.

i didn't have dinner until 9pm, some leftover meat sauce pasta. i cooked a cereal bowl worth of pasta but that's way too much pasta. i couldn't find it all and saved the leftovers for tomorrow. i also had a large bowl of salad, managed to use up the last of my mini sweet peppers.