How We Saved $277 In One Hour

Sink

Like any homeowner, the DTG family occasionally encounters something around the house that needs to be fixed or replaced.  A few weeks ago, we noticed some water underneath the kitchen sink.  After a quick inspection, I couldn’t find the source of the leak and put a towel under the sink hoping it was nothing and the leak would just go away.  The next day, we checked again and the towel was soaked.  Damn, we really had a problem.

I re-inspected the area and found evidence of a leak under the sink where the faucet connected to the countertop.  I’d often seen water around the base of the faucet while washing dishes and assumed it was due to our own sloppy dish washing technique.  This water must’ve been dripping down below.  I just needed to add some sealant between the faucet and the countertop and we’d be good to go.  Problem solved in five minutes.

Nope, wrong again!  The next day even more water was under the sink.  WTF?

Unimpressed with my apparent DIY ineptitude, Mrs. DHose and SprayerTG called a plumber recommended by the lead builder for our neighborhood.  Not to be outdone, I did one last inspection and found the source of the leak.  The junction between the faucet hose and the pullout sprayer was dripping whenever the water was turned on.

At last, I had unraveled the mystery of the leaky faucet.  Now what?

The plumber was scheduled to stop by the next evening so we decided to keep the appointment and see what he had to say since the initial consultation was free anyway.  On the day of the appointment, the plumber showed up about an hour late and left after 20 minutes.  He confirmed what I had suspected and quoted $277 to fix it.

Uh, fuck that.

Looks like I’d be fixing the faucet myself.  While he was inspecting the leak, the plumber gave me one piece of extremely valuable information.  He mentioned that all Moen products included a limited lifetime warranty and that I should contact their customer service department.  When he left, I went to the Moen website, found our faucet’s product number, took a few pictures, described the problem, and submitted a customer service request.  The next morning, we had an email from Moen customer service stating that the necessary parts had been ordered and shipped at no charge.

Wow, that was easy.

Screen and OringAbout a week later, the parts arrived in the mail: a wand screen and o-ring kit.  Unsure if these would fix the leak or how to install them, I did the most logical thing I could think of and found a how to video on YouTube.   After watching the 3-minute video, I felt reasonably confident in my abilities to swap out the parts.

I unscrewed the sprayer from the hose, popped the o-ring and screen out, replaced them with the new parts, and screwed the sprayer head back onto the hose.  I turned the water back on and guess what, still leaking.  Shit!  On a side note, the water was now coming out with the force of a fire hose.  The wand screen and o-ring worked perfectly as intended.

HoseI still had a leak to solve and decided to look at the parts diagram Moen had emailed me in their initial customer service response.  After closer inspection, I noticed they should’ve sent me a new hose assembly instead of the screen and o-ring kit.  I needed to contact customer service again.  This time, I decided to call and talk to a real person to avoid any possible confusion.  The service representative was very nice and after a short conversation, a new hose was on its way, also free of charge.

Later the following week, the replacement hose arrived and I had my weekend project.  After a great Father’s Day pancake breakfast courtesy of Mrs. DTG, I set out to fix the leaky faucet once and for all.  I cleared the cleaning supplies from under the sink, turned off the water supply, and got to work.  Under SinkWith a tiny struggle, mostly due to the tight space and awkward positioning, I disengaged the hose from the clip holding it in place.  Hose ConnectorEven though I had a small bucket ready to catch any water that remained in the hose, the majority missed its intended target and found me instead.  A few minutes later, I had installed and connected the new hose.  Now, for the moment of truth… I turned on the water and, voila, no leaks and a ridiculously powerful sprayer.  At last, victory was mine.  I had conquered the leaky faucet and spent no money out of pocket!

Let’s do a quick rundown of the time spent and associated costs of fixing our kitchen faucet.

Activity Time Cost
Source of leak inspection #1 3 min
Source of leak inspection #2 5 min
Seal faucet base 3 min
Source of leak inspection #3 5 min
Plumber assessment 20 min $277 quote
Research part number, take pics, submit Moen customer service request 10 min
Watch YouTube video and replace wand screen and o-ring 8 min
Call Moen customer service for replacement hose 7 min
Replace hose 25 min
Total (excluding plumber’s assessment) 66 min $0

In the end, we saved $277 or nearly seven hours of my base pay salary.  Our faucet works perfectly and I got to hone my basic plumbing skills which will surely come in handy sometime down the road.  The kids watched and helped where they could and in the process learned the value of basic home improvement skills.  Gaining self-sufficiency and confidence to do relatively simple projects around the house adds another layer of freedom on our quest to financial independence and early retirement.

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