Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Narrator on Aerator

In recent months, the hot water coming out of my kitchen sink faucet began, at times, to be a very diminished flow which would persist for several days and then return to normal. More than once it returned to normal after I turned it off especially firmly, and when the plumber arrived, he suggested the hot water handle might just need a new washer, though he quickly caught himself and said a whole new faucet would be even better.

As with many things in life, I should have just left well enough alone, but after a while, I decided it would be good to at least try replacing the washer, which requires turning off the water to the entire building, because my hot water shutoff valve is cemented into the wall.

The plumber arrived and quickly convinced my building manager that, given the age of the equipment, a new faucet would be the best way to go. He went out to his truck to see what he might have available and installed a shiny new faucet. Cost: $600.

The new faucet turned out to differ from the old one in that the water emerges higher and much closer to the back edge of the sink. This meant that any time the water was on, there was a tremendous racket as the water fell from on high down to the surface of the sink—conversation proved to be a bit impaired—and it also meant that a vast amount of water was splashing onto the counter. Also, I was having to reach farther to get to the water. It was only a few inches’ difference, but I could feel the slight additional strain.

Over the course of a couple of months, I thought this over and solicited suggestions: Was there a more appropriate faucet out there somewhere? Could an S-shape piece be fashioned and fitted to the end of the spout so that the water came out farther forward and closer down? I discussed it with the building manager, assuring her I’d pay for any further work or parts.

A few weeks ago, when the plumber was in the building checking something in another unit, he stopped by and agreed the water comes out too high and too far back, but concluded that the real problem is that my sink is too shallow. What I needed was a much deeper sink, to reduce water splashing onto the counter. Or perhaps the real issue was the height at which the pipes come out of the wall, which, to be sure, is comically high. Therefore, he thought we might consider tearing the wall open and lowering the pipes, and I’m sure we would certainly consider that if we wanted to spend $5000, extrapolating from the cost of the new faucet.

Fortunately, after that I went on a walk with my walking friend and he suggested a flow restrictor to reduce the volume of water. I went over to Cole Hardware on 4th St. between Mission and Market and talked to David, who has helped me many times, and he sold me an aerator/sprayer with a swivel joint. It cost $7.60 and has completely solved the problem! The volume of water is less, so it’s not objectionably loud when it hits the sink, and the flow can be aimed forward, so it’s easier to reach and there’s much less water on the counter.

(Click photos to enlarge.)
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