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Meet the real Joe the plumber

So, I have my countertops coming in within 2 weeks from now. The cabinet that supports the sink needs to be leveled and plumb with the surrounding cabinets. However, the people who came out today to take final measurements said in its current state there should be no problem. There might be a small gap you could see from underneath, but it would be perfectly functional and strong. But, things get more complicated...

Last night I went underneath the sink to get a new trash liner and noticed water dripping from my undersink water filter. Then I realize the entire floor of that cabinet is flooded! There was about 1/8" of standing water there. 4 rolls of paper towels that were being stored down there were soaked and covered in mildew. That told me the weather had been there for some time. I replaced the filters about 2 weeks ago, so this is probably what happened.

I removed everything, cleaned it, and put a fan on it overnight. I reseated the filter and that stopped the slow drip. However, I fear weather has seeped below the surface and underneath the cabinet as this area had a really good soaking. I need to get underneath there to clean it with bleach to make sure that's not a problem down the road. With new countertops going in, now is the time to fix this.

Then I realize what a pain in the ass it's going to be to life this cabinet out of here. Here's the problem in living color...

plumbing plumbing2

Yep, that damn hot water tube (on the left) with that tee that feeds the dishwasher will not make it through the hole now. The plumber who installed this was one lazy ass plumber. Oh, yeah, and I need to slice that PVC in half and re-cement that when I'm done there too.

All of this pluming is PEX and it's actually not too bad to work with from what I've read so far, but the crimping tool is over $100 easily (and hard to find locally). Dad suggested using a tiny saw and cutting a hole around that section allowing the cabinet to come off that way leaving all of the pluming intact (except the PVC part which would still have to be sliced and put back together--no getting around that). My suggestion was to cut-off the plumbing at the surface there, take off the cabinet (no sawing), attach tubing that extends well into the cabinet and re-plumb everything.

So, any other suggestions on the best way to handle this situation? Other plumbers in the LJ house here? Plan is to tackle this Saturday morning. I also purchased some battery-powered water alarms to watch out for this in the future.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
Channeling my dad, who was a plumber/pipe fitter.

Just to make sure:
Are you replacing the existing cabinet with a new one? Sounds like you are planning on reusing your existing one.

Are you happy with the sink drain configuration? Where's your P traps? I'm used to seeing them in the frame of the shot. Instead of the two 45 degree elbows off the floor drain into your wye coupling, you could just do a vertical to a 90 degree elbow into the wye. There's an advantage for flow rates using two 45's, but that's 2" PVC? The use of a 90 in a 2" fitting shouldn't matter.

You may also want to consider renting the PEX crimper. Home Depot may rent them. Otherwise, any plumbing supply house should carry them. I would also suggest replacing the valves with quarter turn ball valves with a threaded supply connection. Your existing valves will eventually be prone to leaking/seizing, and with them crimped onto the PEX connection, it will require the PEX tool to replace. If you are going to rent the PEX crimper, you can crimp on a threaded nipple to attach a valve to it.

Also, just remember once you cut the PVC, you should stuff the opening with a rag to prevent sewer gas from backflowing into the house.
Nov. 11th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Keeping the cabinet.

The sing configuration will change when they install the new sink which comes with the countertop. Going to be a different configuration. A wider view will show the traps on both sides leading to the drain with the air vent in the center on top. That PVC there is at least 2", but I did not measure it.

I ended up getting a PEX crimper for a decent price off of eBay last night and should have it here by the weekend in time.

I did think about replacing those valves with 1/4" turn as the current ones appear to be pretty cheap.

Good advice on blocking the sewer while I'm working on it.

Also, when they originally hooked up the dishwasher, they did not connect it to the food disposal (and there's a connection for it). More laziness on their part?

Any other suggestions if I redo the plumbing, valves and stuff underneath there? I was wondering if a separate cut-off valve was even needed for the dishwasher if I tee into the connection above the other cut-off valve. As long as I have a cut-off valve for the hot and cold going to anything in that area I should be OK, right?
Nov. 11th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
2" diameter PVC is plenty big enough so you could do the 90 degree elbow if you didn't want to replace the 45's configuration. That's more cosmetic than anything code related.

On the air vent, does that elbow back up into the wall? In most construction out my way, the pipe work is usually hidden within the framing. It's more of an academic exercise than anything.

Yep, I'm a big fan of the 1/4 turns. You get better flow rates and longer life. The old twistee ones will leak from the valve stem in time (usually when you need to close them for the first time in a long while). Requiring you to either replace the valve or refurbish the washers.

Hooking up the dishwasher to the disposal is optional. The plumbers aren't saving themselves any time either way. Plus if you aren't the type to run the disposal much, bits of food could get caked into the drainage holes on the disposal floor. So connecting it to the disposal is strictly user preference in my opinion. I did it at my old house to save on room under the cabinet. If you decide to hook up to it, just remember there is a knockout inside the disposal inlet.

Personally, I would keep the second cutoff valve to the dishwasher. Reason is should the dishwasher ever start leaking, you could still wash dishes in your sink until the repair. Either way, I would raise the tee connection off the base of the cabinet though for looks.

That's pretty much it. Have fun!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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