My day in the barrel

It started out innocently enough. The kitchen sink faucet has been dripping. I hate the faucet (and the sink too, for that matter), so rather than replace the washer, I decided to get a better faucet. It’s 25 miles to Home Depot, but no worries.

After my 50-mile round trip, I start the replacement. I managed to get the water lines off of the old faucet, the try to unscrew the big plastic retainers holding the old faucet to the sink. They’re stuck. I try pliers. No joy. I try vice-grips. Can’t get ahold of them. So I used the vice-grips to grasp one of the ‘ears’. That did it. On one of them. The other one… the ‘ears’ snapped off. After many arduous tries, I finally got the other one off.

Putting the new faucet on was a snap. Let’s try it out! What’s that splashing? I’d dislodged the down-pipe from the drain, and was dumping water into the cabinet. :mad: I tried to screw the down-pipe back on. Nope. It was only being held on by two threads anyway, and it looked like the threads on the drain were chipped. Off to the hardware store! (I ran into The Missus on the way out, and told her not to use the sink.) I bought a new drain and down-pipe, and… The drain wouldn’t fit the hole. I figured out there was a retaining ring on the bottom. I took it off and tried again. Nope. There’s a ‘pot’ under the drain, and no way to put on the retaining ring. Nothing to do but glue it down with kitchen/bathroom sealant. But wait! Mrs. L.A. said, 'Just go get a new sink! We both hate that one anyway!) I did not want to drive to Bellingham again, but I wasn’t in the mood to argue. Back to town.

On the way I thought, ‘Wait a minute… If I get a single sink like Mrs. L.A. wants, I’ll have to re-do all of the pipes!’ Bugger. I’ll deal with it. I get to Home Depot, and they don’t have any sinks the size I need. (Old house, funky 18"x26" sink.) I call Lowe’s. They don’t have any that size either. Rather than go home empty-handed, I bought some sealant. I use the sealant to put the drain in the sink. I cut the new down-pipe to fit. I hook everything up. And… Where the down-pipe goes into the drain pipe, it’s leaking. I can’t figure out how to fix it. Call the plumber. No answer.

I get up from the couch, where I was on the computer, and trip over my power cord. At least Macs have magnetic cords for just such an eventuality. I planned on meat loaf for dinner. I put everything into the stand mixer and turn it on. I tightened the bowl the wrong way. It dislodged and made a mess.

I called a different plumber, and they’ll be out in the morning. The meat loaf is done, and we’re about to eat. But man, what a sucky day!

I feel for ya. I’ve had days like that.

I’ve come to learn that, even with the easiest of projects, the gods will find a way to make even Mr. Rogers cuss like a one-eyed whore.

wow dude when they said labor day they mean ya supposed to not labor not the other way around …

aheres my plumbing story

Bought house through hud auction in 96 had been empty for 4 years … get all moved in nad such the
week that we would of lived there a month I started water for dishes the pcv pipes under the sink give away I pick up the phone to call management to get it fixed … realized I was management (or part of ) called other owner of house who told me how to turn off water to kitchen sink …

put down some towels to soak up water went back in my room and closed door til others came home …

A friend of mine who taught me almost everything I know about plumbing - which isn’t all that much, come to think of it - also taught me that with plumbing, you might know where you are starting, but you’ll never know where you end up.

I had to laugh about the title; My day in the barrel.

It is a very funny joke. I guess you have heard it.

I also had a day where nothing went quite right. It started when I woke up 5 minutes after I was supposed to be at work. I remember hitting the snooze when my alarm went off this morning but apparently I hit the off button by accident. So I was half an hour late for my shift. Work consisted of moderately sick patients and very few beds available in the hospital, 1 call from EMS to pronounce a patient dead on scene of an accident and a couple of high maintenance patients with unrealistic ideas of what can be accomplished through the emergency department. So I left work almost 2 hours after the end of my shift. I got home and discovered that one of the cats had puked in my brand new bed. This bed is larger than my old one and I only have 1 set of sheets for it. So now I have to do laundry before bed.

No plumbing job will be done without at least 3 trips to the store.
The stoners who plumbed this place were so wasted they forgot flux. And did I mention that nobody specked cutoffs at sinks? We won’t discuss what they did to the toilets–it was easier to buy the valve assembly, and transplant the guts into the older one. Learned new words from my father, ex-Navy.


“My” bathroom is directly below the master bedroom bathroom, which is mostly my wife’s. I noticed that there was some water on the toilet seat, and couldn’t figure how I did that, so I looked up, and noticed that the ceiling had water damage. So, I cut a hole in the ceiling, and found that the toilet upstairs was leaking at the flange, which meant a trip to the Depot to get a new toilet (I wasn’t about to put that ancient 1970’s toilet back once I had pulled it up. Tomorrow I’ll replace it.

I hate doing toilets.

But, then I have to fix the ceiling, and if there’s one thing I hate more than fixing toilets, it’s fixing sheetrock overhead.

You need a tailpiece with a non-tapered flange and a flat washer to connect to the sink’s drain basket. Real common “back to the store” culprit. The “bottom” end of the tailpiece then plugs into the trap with a tapered compression washer and locknut.

If you need any kind of sealant in the drain pipes other than plumbers putty where the drain basket sits in the sink, you’re doing it wrong. :smiley:

The most amazing thing about this post is that it was edited. :slight_smile:

It’s pouring out at the bottom, where it plugs into the trap. And yes, there’s a tapered washer; and yes, it’s tight.

There’s no other way to attach the drain to the sink. There’s a ‘pot’ under the sink that the old drain fit into, and a large nut that went on the threaded pipe the tailpiece attaches to. The new drain has a large (3" or 4") locking ring that only works with a sink that has a flat bottom. With the threaded pipe, I have the option of using the old locking nut or attaching the tailpiece. So I can either have a drain that’s ‘bolted down’ and doesn’t leak, or I can have a drain that goes into the sewer, but leaks around the edges inside of the sink. Or I can glue it down with sealant.

This is why we have people who do things. You know the old saying: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. If it still doesn’t work, give up. There’s no sense being a damned fool about it.’

Sounds like a normal day 'round here. Nothing but bad luck and kicks in the teeth. Swamp cooler always manages to crap out on the hottest day on record. Pipe will break 6 feet under ground on the whitest Christmas morning in years. Three cars will break down simultaneously.

Coincidentally, it is almost exactly 25 miles to the nearest Home Depot for me, too.

Hang tough, Johnny.

That ‘pot’ thing under the sink. I tried to see if it unscrewed, but it didn’t. It never budged on my multiple attempts to install the drain. The plumber came, and he said it just fell off when he undid the pipe. :rolleyes: It’s actually a good thing it didn’t come off for me, else I would have put the drain in.

The plumber didn’t like the drain I bought. It’s made of plastic, and he said they tend to crack. He got a nice metal drain from his truck. Also, the ‘bathroom/kitchen’ sealant I was trying to use was the wrong stuff. He used plumber’s putty, of which I was unaware. And of course, the drain he supplied has a nice metal ring – plus screws – to ensure a leak-free fit.

My little job of replacing the faucet, which was going to cost about $80, turned into a $250 job (plus the $80 for the faucet, plus $20 for the drain we didn’t use, the tailpiece, pipe rings, and sealant) thanks to the corroded threads on the decades-old drain. Mrs. L.A. thought that was outrageous, but she didn’t say anything. But hey, that’s my pattern. I’ll try something, then try again and again. Eventually I become frustrated and have someone else do it. It just pisses me off that my little change-the-faucet project turned into a fix-the-drain project, and that I was once again thwarted by something non-standard in this funky old house.

Gatopescado: We never had any trouble with the swamp cooler. I just had to climb up on the roof and clean the excelsior bits out of the ‘spider’ every week, and replace the pump every couple of years.

Almost the exact words said to me by an employee at the hardware store (on our third trip :wink: ) when trying to help my mom fix a toilet valve a few years ago. Luckily her hardware store was just a couple miles away.

Kitchen sink had been sluggish for a few weeks, and then stopped draining altogether. Tried Drano, didn’t work. Bought a drain snake, but couldn’t get it through all the twists and turns. Realized the drain pipe ran down through the floor and across the ceiling in the basement, easily accessible, so decided to cut the pipe in the middle and snake it from there.

Pulled a small piece of plastic wrap out, and the water seemed to be flowing away, so used the coupling I’d purchased to put the pipe back together and then discovered that with all the jiggling of the pipe, the tail piece from the sink had disconnected and was so corroded, it was no longer functional. Wrapped everything with duct tape to make it work anyway, put a bucket under there and hoped it would all go away.

A few weeks later managed to borrow a pipe wrench to remove the screw thing holding the remains of the tail piece still attached to the sink and replaced it all with new. Weeks of inconvenience, fixed with less than ten dollars worth of parts and a borrowed pipe wrench.