Your Place: When Project Instructions Don’t Help

faucet_repair(MCT)—Cartridge faucets use up-and-down motion to regulate water flow and left-right motion to control temperature, their makers say. A faucet with two handles turning 90 degrees can be a cartridge faucet.

If such a faucet drips, you can replace the cartridge. YouTube videos show the repair steps. Yet as one reader found, not all faucets are the same, and Internet advice cannot be applied universally.

“I have a two-handle Moen bathroom sink faucet, a model known as Brantford,” he said. “Recently, the cold-water faucet began dripping. When I went to the Internet, I found that the cartridge in the faucet could be replaced ‘easily,’ and I could save $75 on a plumber’s call with an hour’s worth of work.”

The reader watched videos of Moen faucet repair and an animated version on Moen’s site. When he removed the faucet, though, what the instructions showed and what he found did not match. There was a clip at the base of the valve body that didn’t appear in any video. A wrench didn’t loosen the valve nut, either.

The Moen animation showed a $3.75 tool, a hollow brass cylinder, used to loosen the nut, but no clip. Trips to the store were fruitless. No one had heard of the tool or clip. The homeowner found the tool online and ordered it. Still, unlike the animation, the valve nut didn’t turn when he used the tool. He feared the clip on the valve base might be why.

Moen’s representative, Kristi Stolarski, contacted Jerry Capasso of Moen technical support for me. He said the clip only held the “valve body to the top of the deck and does not need to be removed to change the cartridge.” The nut removal tool is used to “unthread” the cartridge nut, he said. If it didn’t budge, pliers could help.

His advice: Turn off the water to the faucet; be sure it’s drained. Remove the cartridge nut; pull the blue stem extension up. The cartridge should come out. Loosen the screw in the blue stem extension to remove the old cartridge; attach the new one. Note the “tab” on the new cartridge. Insert the cartridge and stem extension into the valve body.

Pushing down, rotate the stem extension until the cartridge engages into a slot inside the valve body. Tighten the nut, replace the handle, and turn on the water.

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