Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Small Adventures Of Home Ownership...

When Arden and I moved into our new home in July we knew there were a few things that we needed to take care of as we got around to them.  One was to replace the nearly worn out garbage disposal and another was to replace the non-functioning instant hot water dispenser attached to the kitchen sink.

Since we had 1-3 inches of sleet on Thursday and Friday and Arden got stuck at her brother's house in Fort Worth (because he roads are still impassable), I've had some extra time on my hands.  We had already purchased the new disposal and the water heater so I though I'd go ahead and install them both today.  How hard could it be?

I started with the disposal.  One of my friends had told me that to prepare to install a garbage disposal I should do the limbo for several hours for several days to prepare for the ordeal of working under the sink. It was time to find out.

Removing the old one was a snap.  I unplugged it, disconnected the drain (discovering it had been the source of our water stained cabinet decking) and disconnected the dishwasher drain from the machine.  Then with one quick turn of the lower mounting ring the old disposal was history.

I pulled the new one out of the box.  An "Insinkerator Evolution Select Plus"!  It was pretty.  A little larger than the old one, maroon with black trim and shiny new chrome fittings. And more horsepower. I felt like Tim Taylor. I may have to show it to guests when they come over....

Since the upper mounting bracket and sink flange from the old disposal were still in good shape, clean and well sealed, I decided to leave them in place and use them for the new one.  Far less work that way.

Then I noticed something odd.  The new disposal had no power cord.  I knew it didn't run on batteries and I looked through the box again.  No cord.  Apparently, like a dryer, you have to buy a cord for a garbage disposal to make it work.  I'm not sure when this trend began - selling appliances without power cords, but it's pretty messed up - especially since the sales person at the store didn't bother to mention it.

Since I'm still iced in and can't go anywhere, (and I doubt the hardware store was even open today) I figured I'd use the cord from the old disposal.  The electricity to the old one wasn't a problem.  It just didn't chew up the garbage as well as it should.  I removed it from the old unit and carefully attached it to the new one - ensuring that I connected it properly so as not to have problems.  Once I had it wired correctly I got back under the sink to put it in place.

It took a little effort, between the new rubber seals, the weight of the machine and the awkward angle I had to be in to put it in place but finally, after a couple of tries, I got it seated on the mounting ring.  It stayed in place and was solid. I attempted to attach the drain pipe but because the disposal is larger in diameter than the old one, the drain pipe that was in place was too long.  There was a new one in the box (it didn't come with a power cord but came with a piece of PVC for a drain...) but it was about an inch too short.  Once again, being trapped by ice, I had to improvise.  I had to cut some length off of the one I had.

Fortunately for me I had just purchased a new hacksaw just last week for another project.  I went out to the garage and cut the pipe to length, then came in and installed it.  I reattached the dishwasher drain, plugged in my new disposal and got out from under the sink.

I turned on the water to check for leaks.  So far, so good.  I flipped the wall switch up, waiting to hear the sound of a new disposal motor running smoothly.  All I heard was the electric hum of a motor that had power but was not turning the blades.  I flipped it off and back on.  Same thing.

I turned it off and pushed the reset button on the bottom of the disposal.  Still nothing.  I got my new tool that I bought the same day as the disposal that you put into the machine and turn the blades to clear any jam.  It still didn't work.  I got out the other tool that came with the unit and used it to further turn the blades in both directions.  Then I pushed the reset button again.  I flipped the switch again.  Still just a hum.

I couldn't remove the disposal and return it to the store.  I'm iced in and the store probably wasn't even open.  So I called the company number that was on the paperwork.  I explained the problem to the service person and she asked me for the serial number of the unit - which is on the unit.  I get back under the sink and read the number to her - except, when I finished I no longer had a connection.

So, without moving, I called the number back.  I got another person and explained the problem, and told her I had been talking to another person and got cut off. This person asked me to take the tool provided and turn the blades.  I told her I had already done that but I did it again anyway, without results.  She then told me to use a flashlight and look into the machine and ensure there were no foreign objects in it. I told her I had already done that as well but I did it again.  There was nothing there.

She then said "It seems you may have a defective unit.  We will send you a new one but I need some information.  What's the serial number on the unit?"

I had to get back under the sink to read her the serial number.  She promised to send me a new one "within a few business days."  I asked if she could be a little more specific.  She said "No, Sir.  I can only tell you it will be in a few business days."

I asked her if she could give me an estimated guess. Silence on the other end. Apparently she was getting annoyed with my asking.  I gave up.

She assured me I would have it "within a few business days and, after getting my address and phone number, asked me if "there is anything else I can do for you?" I had a couple of responses for her but decided not to go there....

I thanked her and we hung up.

Since I couldn't do anything else with the disposal I decided it was time to tackle the water heater.  I removed the old one pretty easily.  Unplugged it, pulled off the water lines and took the tap out of the sink. Again - this was the easy part.

I got the new water heater out of the box.  It looked simple enough to install.  I put the tap and water lines into the opening in the sink and got under the sink to secure the tap.  It had a six inch long, threaded rod, a small metal plate and a wing nut that secured it in place.  It took me 10 minutes to screw that wing nut into place in that confined space.  But I got it.

Then I put the heater in place and began attaching water lines.  All was going well... until I discovered a part missing.  I looked in the box and then at the instructions, which said "Install pressure fixture on water line (not included.)"  Again with a very necessary part not included???

I tried to improvise again and take the pressure fixture off the old water line.  But by the time I got it off it was damaged and no longer sealed.  So now I have an installed instant water heater that doesn't work because I can't hook up the water line to it.  And I can't turn the cold water on in the kitchen sink because I have no way to seal that line until I get the pressure fixture.

What a day it's been! I spent all afternoon working without accomplishing much of anything. (Sounds pretty typical for a former government employee, huh?) Actually, I got both machines installed and hooked up - well, mostly.  Of course, I have to remove the disposal and replace it with the new one when it arrives.  But at least I know exactly how to do it now!

1 comment:

  1. So what other projects are you contemplating?