August 28, 2013

Plumbing Fix

After Sunday's surprise discovery that the water supply hoses, pre-attached to our new kitchen faucet, are too short to reach the water supply shut-off valves under the sink, I took to the internet to find a work around. Either my search terms weren't very good or there just isn't a posted solution out there to this particular problem. Luckily, a trip to my local Ace hardware store was all it took to work out a quick fix.

#1. Know what you are dealing with.
Granted, this can be easier said than done when it comes to Ikea products.
This is the end of the water hose, or faucet connector, supplied by Ikea that is supposed to attach to the water shut-off valve. In the US, the threaded stem on the shut-off valve is typically 3/8 inch. Therefore, you need a hose with a 3/8 inch connection. According to the Ikea pictograms, however, the faucet connectors on the Elverdam faucets sold in the US and Canada are 9/16 inch. Which just doesn't make sense. These things are always 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch. I dug out the faucet connectors from the old kitchen sink we removed. The end that fits on the shut-off valve is indeed 3/8 inch. How do I know this? The label was still handily attached to the hose. Next, I measured the connection on the old faucet hose and the connector on the Ikea hose. They appeared to be identical in size.

#2. Ask a professional for advice.
I took the old faucet connector and my camera with all sorts of pictures of our plumbing set up to my local Ace hardware store. Then we played show and tell. Only I didn't need to bust out the camera.  I explained that the pre-attached faucet connectors on my new faucet are a couple of inches shy of reaching the shut-off valves. And that I am uncertain whether or not I can access the ends that connect to the faucet itself. So rather than try to replace the connections with longer ones that will reach, I need some kind of extension to bridge the gap. My valves are 3/8 inch and it appears that the exposed connectors are 3/8 inch as well.

#3. Buy what the professional tells you will do the job & ask more questions if necessary.
On the left is a 9 inch long (the shortest they had) faucet hose with 3/8 inch connections on each end. This one is made of reinforced PVC. They also are manufactured with braided stainless steel, like the shiny ones attached to the Ikea faucet. On the right is a 3/8 inch compression union. Below is a close up. I can't find either of these products on the Ace website :-(
These little dookickeys are made to connect 2 sections of rigid, copper water pipes. Nevertheless, part of this is exactly the thing we need to MacGyver our kitchen faucet set up. (Obviously, I need 2 faucet connectors and two compression unions; one for the hot water & one for the cold water.)

#4. Fix the problem and feel really smart and accomplished.
Collect your tools. You will need a bucket, an adjustable wrench, and a towel in case there are any leaks. 
Screw one end of the newly purchased faucet connector to the shut-off valve. All the advice I found online for this procedure cautioned against tightening the nut too much. Well, what exactly does that mean in practical terms? Tighten the nut as far as you can with your fingers. Then use a wrench to turn it one full turn. I marked the nut with a piece of blue tape to be certain when one full turn was complete.

Before going any further it's a good idea to flush the water line before connecting the other end of the hose to your faucet. You want to flush out any sediment that has collected in your pipes rather than run it through your clean, new faucet and gunk up the aerator. To do this, hold the open end of the hose you just connected over a bucket. Open the shut-off valve and run the water until it looks clear. Close the shut-off valve.
Remove the nuts from each end of the compression union. The small rings were inside of each nut. You don't need the nuts or the rings, just the threaded tube that, in this picture, has the white label on it.
Screw one end of the threaded tube into the open end of the new faucet connector. Tighten with your fingers then turn the nut one full turn with a wrench. Repeat this procedure on the exposed end of the Ikea faucet connector.

If, like here, the sink drains aren't hooked up, place a bucket in the sink under the faucet. Place a second bucket under the hoses you just MacGyvered. Open the shut-off valve and turn the faucet on and off to test.  Repeat step #4 for the hot water. You should now have running water and no leaks under the sink. Congratulations!


  1. Thank you you just save me five days to order the part from the original manufacturei'm on my way to Ace Hardware now thanks again

    1. Hope it worked for you! I just installed an Ikea sink in the bathroom and have the same problem yet again - water supply lines are too short. Had to look this up to remind myself how to work around it...