My parents have this thing in which after someone does something, they would call them “Suzy [insert noun here]” or “Joe [insert noun here].” For example, my mom fixes a squeaky door, so my dad says, “Aren’t you just Suzy Fix-it?” Or my Dad says something about how taxes should be raised, so my mom would say, “Look at you, Joe Liberal.” Get it? Maybe not – but I grew up hearing it all the time so sometimes I think that way too. That is the story behind this post’s title; not Joe the Plumber. After this post, you will see why Jim could be “Joe Plumber.”
This weekend, Jim tried his hand with a new trade – plumbing. As you may have seen in the previous post, our new kitchen sink was installed with the counter tops last week. We could have paid the counter guys to do the plumbing as well, but why spend the hundreds of dollars on a plumber when you can buy “1-2-3 Plumbing” at Home Depot for $14?
After a few days reading the plumbing book before bed, Jim was ready to give the sink a shot. The plumbing of our kitchen sink required attaching two drains (it is a double sink), a garbage disposal, and the dishwasher. There are many different of options of pipe hook-ups and a variety of ways to make all the pipes drain to THE drain (I am at a lost of words here – I do not know plumbing terms well so please forgive me for my repetitive language). There is no “one way” to set up the pipes. Jim drew a diagram of what we needed the pipes to do and we went to Home Depot to search for the pipes to fit the diagram (I wish I took a picture of the diagram but I didn’t).
Jim debated over the right size pipes and connections as I wandered and found the dishwasher water line. After much thought, we were on our way to working drains and running water. Plumbing is really a one man job. There is only so much space under the sink. I helped Jim whenever I could – dumping water in the sink, looking for leaks, etc – but in reality, Jim did it all solo. Hooking up the pipes were relatively easy. We used Teflon tape which helped secure the pipe connections from leaks. Jim’s diagram helped him get the pieces in the right order. There was one little leak, but Jim quickly fixed it up. By late afternoon on Saturday, we had working drains and garbage disposal in place!
We did have one minor issue on Saturday. While researching what to hook-up in regards to the dishwasher, Jim found that we needed an air gap. An air gap prevents contaminated water from backing into the water supply. You probably have seen these before and didn’t know what they are.
The problem with air gaps is that they come up through your counter. Since we don’t have a granite hole cutter anywhere, we weren’t sure what to do. Luckily, the wonderful people we got our counter tops from told us they could come Monday and put an extra hole for the air gap free of charge! So the dishwasher would have to wait for Monday – but the problem was solved.
On Sunday, Jim got to work connecting the water supply. He attached the valves to the supply pipes and then the faucet to the valves. Before we knew it, we had water! After the water was working, we moved the dishwasher into place. We set the water supply line and drain line in place, but did not do anymore work because we had to wait for the air gap. We had a productive enough day and headed to our friends’ place for a Super Bowl party.
When the counter top guy came on Monday, he told us through his thick Turkish accent that we didn’t need an air gap since our sink was under mounted. We had not heard this before. He was very sure of himself. We told him we were worried it was against the code. He convinced us it was not. After a little back and forth – it was decided he would come back if the permit inspector failed us and had a hole, but until then – we would go without. Since we no longer had to wait for the air gap to be installed – Jim finished hooking up the dishwasher. We put our first load of dishes in Monday night and it worked perfectly! It is so quiet, we forget that it is even running. When I went to empty the dishwasher, I never thought I could be so happy unloading a dishes. We have clean dishes in our cabinets again! I have been gradually doing a load of dishes a day so that everything we have been storing in the basement the past few months are spic ‘n span before we use them.
So there you have it, Jim is a mighty fine plumber.