Problems replacing bathroom faucet


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Old 02-26-22, 12:03 PM
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Problems replacing bathroom faucet

I live in a very old house, built in 1880, and the person who owned the house before me made some very unwise "upgrades". Every DIY project I start turns into a nightmare long story because of this.

I need to replace my bathroom faucet. I have copper water pipes in the basement. They go up through the basement ceiling to enter into the bottom of my bathroom cabinet. The place where the rigid copper supply line connects to the copper pipe is not accessible in some magical place between the floor of my vanity and the basement ceiling, I cannot see where the two connect. I have very old globe shut off valves further in the basement in the middle of the copper piping that can shut off the hot and cold water to the sink so that I don't have to shut off the water to the whole house. However, they are VERY old. Past experience in this house shows that if shut of valves are left alone, they cause no issue. If one attempts to shut them, they start leaking.The hot water shut off looks basically okay, I shut it and opened it without issue. The cold water shut off has oxidation crystals to an extreme that is unprecedented–it looks like some growth in a cave. I am afraid to mess with it because it could cause a leak. So right now, I can only work on this faucet by turning off the water to the whole house.

So, water turned off, I get my fat self under the sink, disconnect the water supply line from the hot water faucet, go to disconnect the water supply line from the cold faucet and cannot. I mean CANNOT! It is completely stuck. So, I aborted the mission, figured I'd deal with a nasty faucet for a bit, went to reconnect the hot water supply line, and now both are leaking. Water leaks from where the water supply line connects to the base of the faucet on both the hot and cold side.

I cannot tighten it enough to fix it. I am thinking my rigid chrome water supply lines need to be replaced. Yet I cannot get to where they attach to the copper pipe.

I am out of shape and caring for my disabled mom. I don't have someone who can help me lift. I would very much like to not have to call a plumber to help me. Here are the options I have come up with, but please tell me if there are more that I don't know about:

I might be able to cut the wooden bottom of the cabinet so that I can view where the water supply line connects to the copper pipe, but I have no guarantee that this will allow me to see it. I also may not be able to get it disconnected due to its age.

Could I cut the rigid chrome supply line and use a compression fitting shut off valve that is 3/8 in on both sides to attach the chrome supply line that I have to a new flexible supply line? Then I would also have shut off valves that work.

I looked up how to cut the copper pipes, could I cut the copper pipe where it comes out of the basement ceiling, then use a compression fitting valve to connect the copper pipe to a super long flexible supply line and thread the supply line up through the ceiling into my cabinet? If I do this, I don't know if I will be able to pull the old supply line and old copper pipe through the floor, couldn't the place where they connect get stuck and not be able to fit through the floor? I am also afraid to start cutting the copper pipes because I have never done it before. It looks super easy, but in this house things that are easy for others are not easy here. What kind of damage could I cause if I cut on the pipes? What could go wrong?

I could continue trying to disconnect the cold water supply line and if by some miracle my strength is enough to get it off, see if the new faucet can then be installed. I have an 8 in 1 faucet tool that looks like the red one made by Ridgid, so hopefully that will help. But, I am afraid my supply lines are so old that they will leak, possibly even worse, and if I don't install shut off valves I am stuck with no water to my whole house until I can get someone to help me out.

Is there some way that I can replace the washer and nut etc on the end of the supply line I have without replacing the whole supply line? Then I would have a new part to screw on to the new faucet.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks so much.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 12:15 PM
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1st off I did not read to the very end. But replace those valves with SharkBite valves. Very easy. Now you can shut off both hot and cold water without any leaking.
I'll now read the rest of the post.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 12:21 PM
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Actually, what you suggest is not out of the realm of possibility. But I think your over thinking. Send some pics. Both close ups and from a distance. And I do think that cutting the vanity floor will show where the supply line attaches to the copper. I don't think you need to replace copper.

Just a note about isolation valve. Inactivity is the root cause of valve failure. The seals and washers will dry out and crack if not used on a regular basis. Rule of thumb, every few months close every valve tight, then open all the way, then back off about a quarter turn. THis regime will keep them in good working order.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 01:04 PM
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Okay, here are pictures. Excuse the mess, I'm not Martha Stewart.
This is my cave growth, the picture doesn't do it justice, there are crystals and everything–it sparkles!

Here is the hot water valve


This is the abyss that they shoot up into my basement ceiling:


Just FYI: that frayed wire that is next to all the leaking water is not live nor attached to anything, just a left over of one of the house's previous owners projects

This is the hot water supply line under the vanity. The cold looks exactly the same, I hesitated to remove all the towels and stuff I have catching the drip.


And here is a blurry shot of the bottom of my faucet where the water supply line connects. It's a terrible picture that includes a lot of plumbers putty, so I hope you didn't need to see that part too bad (I went through great lengths to try to stop that drip!)


 
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Old 02-26-22, 01:08 PM
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Which of what I suggested do you think will work?
The vanity is in terrible shape, and I hope to replace it at some point, I was just putting it off until Covid improved. I am not against cutting into it if you think that's what needs doing, I just want the best fix that is quickest and easiest with least likelihood of me seriously messing something up

I didn't know what you said about the shut off valves. Thanks! I will be sure to open and close them from time to time.

If you need more pictures let me know. I don't feel like there is much to see, especially since what I want to see is in the magical hidden place beneath the floor...

Thank you for your help!
 
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Old 02-26-22, 01:23 PM
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Well, since you plan on getting a new vanity anyways, go ahead and cut the floor. Now you'll be able to see if in fact the connection is there. At this point why not just get a new vanity? That one seems like it had it.
I would definitely replace those shut off valves. That looks like a very small leak and it has large calcium build up. Like I said SharkBite's will be very easy. Do you have any soldering experience? That would help in removing the old valve that's all crudded up. Those copper pipes seem fine. No need to replace those. Send more pics when you cut the vanity floor.
I'm going suggest another set of valves right at the vanity under the sink.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 02:04 PM
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I could continue trying to disconnect the cold water supply line and if by some miracle my strength is enough to get it off, see if the new faucet can then be installed.
As per the points previously made, I don’t know whether it would really be appropriate now to try and remove the supply line from the faucet, but I have found that PB Blaster does miracles. I’ve had things to loosen that I had just about given up on, but then I used some of that PB Blaster and it actually worked like a miracle and I was able to get the connection apart. Seems like that stuff is great - IMHO.

Just a thought.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 02:06 PM
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I don't have anyone who can help me put in a vanity right now, and I am currently out of work. I'm hoping to replace the faucet and stop the leak from the supply line for now, in a few months hopefully I can get a vanity.
I don't have any soldering experience. I've been looking at automatic pipe cutters like the AutoCut. Would that work to take off the old valves? Would I have to worry about damaging something if I did this?
I'd like to put in shut of valves under the sink, like you suggested. If I cut through the floor and find where the supply lines connect to the copper pipe, they would disconnect there and I would put in a shut of valve there, right? If I do this, then I would always have to be reaching down into the floor to use the shut off valves. Would it be possible to cut the supply line that is already visible in the vanity and attach a shut of valve there and attach another supply line from there?
 
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Old 02-26-22, 02:53 PM
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In a word YES. But I'd like to see the connection first. I don't know how much an automatic pipe cutter cost, (About $50 or more?) but you don't need to spend money on that. Put it towards the new vanity. I understand what's it's like to be out of work and finances are tight. I have never had the need to buy an automatic pipe cutter. Unless you're a professional I doubt you'll really need that tool.
Those supply lines (if in fact that's what they are), I believe are 3/8. I don't remember if shut-off or isolation valves come in that size in both ends. Are you sure that is not 1/2 pipe? Is it possible to get a picture of the connection at the faucet?
Ideally you would want the 1/2 copper water supply to just poke through the cabinet floor or wall about 3" to 4". Then a SS flex supply line would be used to connect to the faucet itself.



 
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Old 02-26-22, 03:06 PM
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I'm really pretty sure that it is not 1/2 " pipe, it is skinnier than the copper pipe in my basement, but that might be 1". I am not a professional! I've been teaching myself with Youtube a lot
I can get a picture of the connection at the faucet, but I'll have to remove all the putty. I am really sure it is a supply line, because it does have the washer end that screws on the bottom of the faucet. I think I've found supply lines and these connectors on Amazon, that are 3/8" on both sides, but I don't know if they will work.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...6M4AQRAV&psc=1

I'll see about getting you some better pictures.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 03:09 PM
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YES they will work and get you out of jam. Go for it!
 
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Old 02-26-22, 03:25 PM
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Alright, so just because I am slow I am going to ask you to spell this all out so I am sure I am understanding.

So, you think the 3/8 in connectors will work that I found on Amazon, right? Then I can cut the rigid water supply line and use the connectors to attach a good new flexible supply line.

Since my last post, I found this
https://www.amazon.com/EZ-Fluid-Capt...s%2C117&sr=1-1
This will eliminate the need for the connectors, and give me a shut off valve, right? I can cut my old supply line, connect the female side to the old supply line, and then the new flexible supply line would connect to the male side? Are both ends compression on this thing, and do they need to be?

How do you suggest I cut the old supply line?
 
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Old 02-26-22, 03:32 PM
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Yes. As long as the current supply line is straight and smooth you can use those connectors. They should be available at any home improvement store. Then you won't need to cut the floor of cabinet.
And Yes, again about those valves. That would be exactly what you would use if you found the connection to the copper pipe, assuming it's under the cabinet floor.
I didn't want to jump too far ahead so I went and let you find your own way. and it looks like you have. Good show.
 
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Old 02-26-22, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for your help. You said I shouldn't need the tool to cut the pipe. How would you cut the supply line so I can put the connector on with the shut off valve?
 
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Old 02-26-22, 03:52 PM
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You use a simple tubing cutter.

 
 

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