Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Plumbing Adventures

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:48 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Fluid Networking!

Well, I was under the sink again this weekend. The kitchen sink this time, though, not the bathroom again. I replaced our old, leaking garbage disposal with a new, heavy-duty one horse-power InSinkErator Model 777S. And it rocks!
I got it Saturday from our local Home Depot, along with my new friend, Mr. Plumber’s Putty. I opened the package up and read through the directions, just so I knew how it was all going to go together.
Sunday morning, I got up early, for a Sunday, and found the circuit to cut off the disposal, after a little trial and error. Then, I was off to work. I started by disconnecting everything I could manage from the old disposal, except power. After banging on the old locking ring with a hammer for 20 minutes, I got the old disposal loose. Then, I set about trying to get the electrical connection off. In the end, it was so corroded that I just ripped off the metal plate that covered the connection. The rest was a matter of trimming and stripping wires. No problem.
Next, I pop the old mounting ring out of the sink and clean the hole up. At this point I discover the reason it was leaking was that there wasn’t any plumber’s putty left around the opening. No putty = No Seal! So, I smear a bunch of plumber’s putty around the hole and press the top part of the mounting ring into place. Now, I need some help holding that down while I get the bottom half of the mounting ring together. Luckily, my lovely assistant (aka My Wife) is there to help out.
So, now I muscle the new disposal into place and hook up the electric. Whoops! My first trip back to Home Depot for parts: wire nuts. Got to make sure there’s a good connection that’s nice and dry. Electro-convulsive therapy should never be an after dinner surprise!
Now to get the new disposal mounted on the bottom of the sink. It’s so heavy that I can just barely hold it up to the ring with both hands. Again, my lovely assistant is there to slide the mounting ring into a semi-locked position. I get it the rest of the way in.
Time to hook up the plumbing. The connection from the dishwasher is actually very easy. It’s just two wire hose-clamps. A couple turns of a screwdriver and that’s done. Next, the drain to the sewer. It seemed straight forward enough, but working in such tight quarters made it hard to get things tightened down. I thought I had it, reconnected power and ground some ice. No problems, so I figure I’m done. It was about 12:30pm. Not bad.
But, wait! A couple hours later, I go back and grind some actual food. Whoops! There’s a leak! And, not just a little “drip, drip” leak, but a steady stream. So, I’m back under the sink, cursing to make a sailor blush trying to tighten the locking nut. “POP” Out comes the 90 degree connection to the trap! Damn! So, I try and get that tight again, but to no avail. *sigh* More plumbing on Monday (today).
So, I was up around 9:00am again today. First, I tried to tighten down the 90 degree connection, but the PVC had actually been eaten away, so I couldn’t get a decent connection. I spent about 15 minutes on that before deciding to just replace the whole trap and connection to the inside sewer connection. Back to Home Depot. A few minutes later, I’m back home measuring and trimming my new PVC connection. A little plumber’s putty at every connection and a quick poke with my new sink auger and I connect everything back up.
Finally! Every-thing’s together and I’m grinding and running water for more than 30 minutes without a leak. So, while I’m filthy and feeling good about getting the work done, I clean out the nasty, ancient remains from our refrigerator. It’s looking great, but I check on leaks anyway. Uh-oh. Drip, drip, drip. So, it’s only a little and I figure I can tighten it down some more. I start running water and grinding some more. Finally, finally, it looks okay.
Later, when I was talking to my Dad about my plumbing adventures, he said that it might take weeks for it to finally tighten down under there. So, a cheap bucket is under there now. I’ll just have to keep my eye on it and make sure that nothing gets worse. If it does, I’ll just get some silicon sealant and “fix it real good”.

But, all that aside, I have to say that I a) love the feeling of accomplishment that I got from doing it myself and b) love the sound that super-quiet 1 horsepower disposal makes when it sucks down garbage. Cool.

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