Sunday, June 8, 2014

Groundhogs are Back

The groundhog saga continues.

When we moved into this house last year, several groundhogs lived under the front porch. I trapped all seven groundhogs and installed a hardware cloth barrier, making it impossible for new groundhogs to move in.

This year we cleared out 15 years' worth of overgrown brush from the edges of the back yard, taking away a few more hiding places.

Today, a tiny groundhog ran across the back patio right in front of me, hiding under the screened in porch in the back of our house. Both dogs were outside and somehow they didn't notice.

We have a concrete patio around the pool and the concrete abuts the screened in porch. At least two groundhogs have created a new burrow *under* the concrete patio with an entrance under the back porch.

I'll have to trap these groundhogs and then rebuild the skirting around the bottom of the porch so it's impossible for new ones to return.

Why?

  • Groundhog burrows are sometimes huge - anywhere from 8 to 66 feet!
  • We have two dogs that won't stand a chance against a groundhog defending its territory.
  • We're lucky it's only groundhogs. Enclosed space underneath a porch is also prime skunk real estate.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bathroom Faucet

Today I replaced this ugly bathroom faucet. It's an old Moen faucet and this is the third one I've replaced. Watching this video was incredibly helpful.


Obviously, turn off the water supply first.


Next remove this bolt:


That will let you pull the handle out.


Then you can unscrew this lever.


Removing the lever allows the stopper to come right out. It'll be gross and messy, welcome to plumbing.


You should go ahead and remove the trap so you can clean it all out. You should be able to loosen and disassemble the PVC drain by hand. If this is your first rodeo, take lots of pictures so you can remember how to reassemble the trap when you're finished.


Now pop the top off the handles.


Unscrew.


Pry with a screwdriver and pop the top off. This picture makes it look easy. LOL. It'll take lots of force since the handle is old and corroded. You might even bend the screwdriver.


Almost there...how the hell does this thing come off?


Next unscrew this part as shown below. Again, it looks easy, but this is probably extremely frozen and difficult to move. You might have to drill a hole in the bottom piece so you can hold it stable with a screwdriver. Then you can use a wrench to loosen the top part.


Doesn't this look lovely? The blue stuff is a big plastic washer that has disintegrated over the years. Everything else is a combination of mineral deposits, bent o-rings, and a substance known as "slop".


The first few times I removed faucets like these I pulled and bent the faucet until it eventually broke off. Now I know the trick - an allen wrench!


See how easy this is? (I had to use pliers for leverage to turn the allen wrench.)


And a second allen wrench loosens a bracket as shown below.


Now you can pull up on the handles. We're getting really close.


Old plumbing fixtures are home to an amazing amount of rust. There is a clip that you must pop off.


Now the whole assembly comes out from below. This is what it looks like:


Back under the sink, loosen the drain nut.


Push it up and use pliers to turn the silver ring counterclockwise to loosen it.


Now is a good time to clean everything up.


Doesn't that look better?


Another pro tip: do as much prep above the sink as possible. Here, I've wrapped the threads in teflon tape.


And I found I could also attach the supply hoses.


Feed it all through the hole.


Put the trap back together.


I'm skipping a step because assembling the drain is covered in the installation instructions. Here is the finished faucet!


Believe it or not, this was pretty easy -- once I knew how to disassemble the old faucet. The last time I used a hack saw to cut the old faucet out, which was a nightmare. I also didn't think to assemble the supply hoses ahead of time, leading to a lot of time squeezed under the sink at awkward angles.