The kitchen faucet is a pull-out: the kind of faucet where the faucet head itself (as opposed to a separate sprayer) is on a hose and you pull it out of the body of the faucet when you need to spray things down or fill large pots. I bought it a long time ago and paid not a lot of money for it. It was pretty cheaply made and I’ve long thought that someday I’ll want to replace it with something better.
Friday, the spray hose decided that name was to be more literal. The hose started leaking. Everywhere. Every time the faucet was turned on, water sprayed out of it at several points along its length. Which went completely unnoticed for most of the day, because unless you’ve pulled it out, the hose is all hanging under the sink.
Then I happened to go into the basement.
After spending a couple of hours researching which kitchen faucet that was in stock at any of my local big-box home improvement stores (All three major chains are represented nearby, along with a couple of independents) was as close to my budgeted price (That would be $0, as I did not actually budget ahead for a new kitchen faucet emergency) as possible without being crap (Which turned out to be about $120), I set out.
But when I got to the store, I discovered a crappy alternative: you can buy a “universal” replacement hose. I asked the associate working in the plumbing aisle. I asked him if he sold these often (yes), and if they often came back when he did (no). I decided to give it a try; $30 is closer to my budget this week than $120.
I had some other errands to run and things to do. By the time I got home with the part it was Midnight. I installed it anyway.
It was pretty straightforward. It took about an hour. This is crap. Don’t buy this.
It does work.
It does not leak.
Its “universal” ferule does not quite fit into my faucet body; it fits well enough to use, but not right. It was short two rubber washers. It’s made of cheap braided nylon fiber over a rubber hose. It was a huge pain to get strung down through the body, which could be partly because the body was not well designed to begin with. I’ve noticed over the years that after a certain point in price, you’re paying more for someone’s careful thought in the design phase than for the actual quality of the materials used in manufacturing the item.
Better than not having a working kitchen faucet? Yes. Better than buying an inexpensive complete faucet? No: it cost enough to make it a serious fraction of a whole faucet, and it’s crap, and the time it took to install was about the same as I would have spent installing a whole faucet.
But now I can buy a better faucet than I could have gotten on a “right now today I need to buy it today and walk out of the store with it right now and also I have no money” basis on a Friday afternoon, in a few weeks when I can budget for it. And install it when I can budget the time to do it. In the daytime.
And now I need to re-wash all the laundry that got wet when all that water that was spraying out of the hose unnoticed and into the cabinet under the sink ran down into the basement and onto the clean laundry down there. 19 hours later there are still puddles down there.