05 March 2010

The M.E. Who Only Computes

Some Mechanical Engineer I am. So I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but it definitely does not mean I have mechanical skills. Like what's needed to fix a leaky or broken pipe.

A pipe in the kitchen sink assembly broke open this week. Not a crack line, mind you, but a whole piece of the thing disappeared somewhere. I have no idea how it happened but the whole piece of pipe has to be replaced.

In the ideal world, things are done correctly and when they breakdown from normal usage, you replace them with off-the-shelf pieces. In my world, I learned today whoever installed the pipe assembly did a lousy job. I thought the pipes under the two sinks would meet perfectly right in the middle of the distance separating them, straight into the T-joint. Not so. The left pipe, which has the hole, is actually shorter than the right piece. The two 7-inch-long pipes I bought for the project could not possibly fit into the assembly. I ended up buying a shorter piece, probably 6 inches long but even then the connections do not fit nicely. As a backup plan, I got a whole set of pipes made of plastic. The T-joint for the plastic set is longer in all directions and somewhat cover the gaps in the old assembly. I find it amazing the old assembly ever worked. The T-joint just sat on top of the trap piece, only kept in place by an insulation jacket. The whole thing works, for now, but water still leaks if the sink is filled up then drained. I know what other pieces need to be changed, but that's a battle for another day this weekend.

I used to think that Home Depot has everything for any given home-improvement project. Technically I would need to replace only the left pipe, the one with the gaping hole. However, it was tightly connected to the T-joint so I wanted to buy a new T-joint as well. HD only has plastic T-joint. When I came back to HD a second time in hope of finding a J-pipe less than 7" long, they didn't have any and the worker for the plumbing department told me he did not have the tool to cut anything for me. He had some machine to cut really long pipes down to size, but nothing for these small pieces off the shelf. A visit to my local hardware store on 86th Street solve the problem. Originally the good chap there was going to cut the pipe for me but then he found a pipe just the right length. On a second trip to the local store, I even picked up a metal T-joint.

Plumbing is no fun, to me. Each time I realized a piece is not correct, I had to go back to the store to get the correct piece. I could not just download the piece and install it. It would be so much easier if I can punch in some code to indicate the project I work on, into some web site, and get back just what materials, with measurements, I would need. Worst of all, there is no reboot. As is often the case, once I started to take things apart, I discover other problems and more pieces to replace. A reboot to get everything back to where things were at the beginning of the project would be so handy.

No comments:

Post a Comment