Tuesday, 3 February 2009

DIY Plumbing == Success!

So a few days ago Carrie noticed that the area beneath the sink was kinda, well, moist.  Upon careful observation we came to realize that there was a link in the nut that connected the left-hand sink drain to the pipes.  Under normal water-usage conditions it didn’t leak at all, but if high volumes of water went either or both drains, then it would get backed up in the U-shaped trap and try to make its way backwards up out of the drains.  This is when a few drops would seep out.

drain-drawing

Well, that’s no good. We can’t use a leaky sink! So I made sure that it we wouldn’t use it by accident through absent-mindedness or force of habit.

drain01

Turned out the leak was happening because the nut holding the pipe to the drain had a gigantor crack in it.

drain02

You probably notice that that last photo of the cracked nut was taken outside.  That’s because I borrowed a big ol’ wrench from Travis, and while it wasn’t big enough to get the actual nut off, I was able to pull the pipe out.  That left kind of a gap in our below-the-sink plumbing.

drain03

But not to worry!  A trip to Home Depot with the offending pipe and a quick query to an employee in the plumbing section, and I had a handful of brand-new PVC pipes and washers and nuts.  Our old pipes weren’t a standard lenght or anything, so the pipe had to be cut down by hand.

drain04

I used an invisible saw, by which I mean I searched the laundry room thoroughly for it and could not find it despite the fact that it was sitting in plain view the whole time and my wife found it in about three seconds.

Anyway, I attached the vertical pipe extension (which also had to be cut down), then the silicone washers and PVC nuts and it was all ready to go!

drain05

After I attached the new pipes to the old drain there was still a problem, though.  The new joint at the drain was perfect; not a leak in sight, and under normal water usage there were no problems.  But with a high volume of water the U-trap would back up and water would drip out of the joint between the old pipes and the new.

drain06

I figured this was because the sealing washer in the old pipes just wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore; removing the old pipes probably did it in.  There was no way I could change it without removing the old, metal nut there, though, and no wrench in my house could do that job.

So I sucked it up and drove back to Home Depot and dropped $14 for an actual, real-life 18-inch pipe wrench, the kind that actual, real-life plumbers tote around.  I also dropped a couple of bucks for a brand-new PVC nut and sealing washer.  I came home, removed all the new stuff and re-installed it with the shiny new washer and nut.

drain07

And, glory-be, it works perfectly!  There are no more leaks.  I did it entirely myself.  The grand total was around $30 including the pipe wrench, which is now ours to use whenever we see fit, or to loan out to anybody else who ever needs one.  It likely would have cost ten times as much if we’d called in a plumber to do the same job.  And it probably wouldn’t have taken any less time.

I can be pretty handy around the house sometimes.  When I have to be.

Categories: Life, Pictures.

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