A plumbing issue

Here’s the situation – I have a tenant on the third floor who calls me and tells me that she’s not getting much flow from the hot side of her kitchen faucet (it’s one of those lever-type faucets). I haven’t yet had a chance to go and look, but I find myself wondering if some plumbing work I did on the first floor is to blame. The timing of the complaint, if nothing else, is suggestive.

On the first floor, I was replacing the lower bank of kitchen cabinets, but not the upper bank. It happens that the copper hot water pipe serving the third-floor kitchen rose up in this spot, and was not buried in the wall either – it was a couple inches in front of the wall. In order to be able to get the cabinets and countertop to seat cleanly against the wall, I rerouted this pipe a little. Now it makes a right-angle bend just after it emerges from the floor, goes horizontally for a few inches, then goes vertically again for a couple of feet. Then it makes another right-angle bend, again goes horizontally for a couple of inches, then vertically again to be joined to the original pipe in its original placement (that is, outside the wall).

Could this Seussian arrangement of the pipes be responsible for a restricted flow on the third floor? On the one hand I wouldn’t think so, but on the other, it’s the only thing I know that has changed about the pipes recently.

Joe the Plumber, help!

If done properly, the changes you put in shouldn’t impact the flow. However, every time you make a modification like that, you are introducing the possibility of error.

For example, is is possible that one of the pipes or fittings you used might have had some foreign matter inside that is causing a blockage? Could you have kinked the pipes at some point? Is it possible one of the solder joints is leaking?

Possibly some gunk got stuck in one of the hot-side orifices. Disassemble the faucet, and see how much hot water you get out of it.

I really don’t think I did any of those things. I think the next step is to take off the faucet and see if the problem is located there. Watch for the epilogue!