Monday, August 27, 2012

Pfister Faucet Corrosion

The kitchen faucet has been showing bare copper and green corrosion on the side of the spout for a little while, but now water sprays out the side! It corroded all the way through. Thankfully, I keep all kinds of warranty information and receipts, despite Megan's jabs about it. (Megan would like everyone to know I do not "jab" him about the receipts and warranties, its the ridiculous collection of boxes he keeps!!)

So I made a warranty claim with Pfister, and they asked a bunch of questions and asked for pictures. One of their questions was, "what type of cleaners did you use?"
I gave them a good engineer's response, "I only used a clean, damp cloth to wipe the surface in accordance with the owner's manual."

Later, we got a new faucet in the mail. Unfortunately, it was the wrong faucet; it did not have a sink sprayer connection. Eventually I got the right one (Pfister Classic 1-Handle Kitchen Faucet with Sprayer) and installed it. I don't know why so many sink and shower faucets are chrome painted copper or plastic. I recently bought a new shower head, and as I was screwing in the plastic adapter onto the metal shower spout, it cracked right down the middle! Everything in a water system should be made of stainless steel, brass, or PVC, but that gets expensive. Anyway, our faucet has a lifetime warranty, we'll see how long this one lasts.

I feel like a plumber now, since I worked on the toilet, shower, and kitchen sink within about a week... I bet if I had shown a little more crack, I could have worked faster. I'm glad I'm not a plumber every day.

Here's how I did it:

 - Channel-lock pliers
 - Oatey plumber's putty
 - Thread tape, heavy duty (pink)
 - Old towel
 - Stanley tripod flashlight
 - Pants that won't quite stay up

1.  Turn off the water under the sink.

2.  Place a towel in the bottom of the cabinet.

3.  Turn the faucet on to let any pressure out, then off again.

4.  Disconnect all water lines from the faucet. Use pliers if needed, but be careful not to destroy the plastic nuts. Some water will likely come out. Notice which line is hot and which is cold. You may have another line teed off from the hot side to the dishwasher; this will help if you just take everything out without paying attention like I did.

5.  Remove the nuts, faucet, and sprayer. I had to bend the 3 faucet pipes closer together to get them through the hole.

6.  Spread plumber's putty on the plastic gasket just inside the outer edge.
If I had to do this again, I would skip the putty and apply a clear caulk around the faucet after it was installed.
7.  Set the faucet in the holes. Install the plastic nuts.

8.  Wrap thread tape around the pipe threads.
This isn't always necessary, but my pipes leaked as installed by our home builder, so I have always used thread tape. These connections should all be compression fittings, which means the tighter the nuts are put on, the more the connection is compressed and the less likely it is to leak. Compression fittings are intended to be used without thread tape. However, if you have the strength of 10 gorillas, you may break the nut by over-tightening, but you may have leaks if you under-tighten. Using thread tape will give you a little more wiggle room.
9.  Carefully connect the water lines. Hot goes to the longest pipe. The sink sprayer may have a special fitting you just plug into the faucet, or it may be the normal screw on type; the sprayer will be the shortest pipe. Be careful not to cross-thread the nuts.
Plastic nuts on metal thread is a terrible idea, because it is so easy to cross-thread. Cross-threading happens when a nut and bolt (or pipe in this case) are not lined up quite right when screwed together, and the threads are forced to cross over each other, which damages the threads. Metal pipe threads are sharp, and plastic is soft, so it is easy to damage these plastic nuts. If it is lined up right, it should be easy to screw the connections together until the last 1/4 turn or so. If you do damage a nut, buy a metal replacement hose with metal end fittings. 
10.  Turn on the faucet, then the water supply. Test it out with hot and cold water, make sure you have no leaks.



  1. Hello!

    stopping by from the blog hop :) your newest follower!! hope to hear from you soon!

    xoxo - kylie

  2. New follower from Mommy Mixer. Love for you to stop by and return the follow when you can ;)

  3. That white plastic double boxy looking connector on the end of the spray hose line that is pictured here connecting the spray hose to the faucet (the white coupling on the white hose in the middle at top of pictures above) in the world does one disconnect that thing to remove the spray hose?? I have tried for hours now.

  4. I have the same question/problem as John did in February 2014. Did anyone answer has question abput the "plastic double boxy looking connector"?

  5. So what caused the corrosion on the faucet? I've had two different faucets from different manufacturers (Moen and Delta) that have done this. Makes me think there's some stray electrical currents but nobody gets shocked...I tried an all plastic faucet but it's so flimsy it won't last long.