Sink Cleaning and Replacement
John: Hi you are listening to ask the expert radio show, I’m John Wolf, I have with me Roger Wakefield of Texas green plumbing; his website texasgreenplumbing.com and his number is 972-442-4101, our number here 214-787-1190 and we’re talking about all sorts of plumbing things.
Roger we want to get into sink changing. Now sometimes people might want to do it for cosmetic reasons maybe they’ve just redone their kitchen, some people may have a problem; what do you advise about people who are thinking of changing their sinks?
Roger: If they’re doing a kitchen remodel I really recommend they go ahead and change out the sink. I just changed out the sink and faucet at my house a couple of months ago and actually went to a larger you know we had a builder grade stainless steel sink and I love the stainless steel but I didn’t like that it was only you know 6 or 8 inches deep, didn’t like the faucet that was with it. I bought a beautiful American Standard it’s almost like a commercial kitchen sink and I had to just like everybody else when it comes to things like that I go to put it in it won’t fit because the hole on top was perfect.
The cabinet below stuck in too far, so my guys are like Roger what do we do? We looked at it, we trim the cabinet a little bit I got it the fit in; that is probably one of the most visible changes you can make in a kitchen other than appliances. Your kitchen faucet, your kitchen sink it really makes a big deal, it makes a difference. I get people call me and say we want to change our kitchen sink because it clogs up a lot; well cleaning the sink drain and how to clean the drain you realize that has nothing to do with the sink, it’s literally the drain itself that stuff that’s roughed in under your kitchen sink. You can put in just about any kitchen sink if there is you may have to redo your popping but it’s not hard to change; out you take out the old one, you put in the new one and you go back and hook it up. And these are things that most homeowners can do.
John: Now a bathroom sink I’m used to pulling long hair from the females in the house out of but what sort of things clog up the kitchen sink that causes a problem? The pipes below of course
Roger: The biggest things that we run into for a kitchen sink; rice, cabbage, pasta. Well we’ve almost all got garbage disposals and that’s another one it’s easy to change out. But just because you’ve got a garbage disposal whether you’ve got a new garbage disposal or an old one it really doesn’t matter. They are not made to just chew up every bit of food that is on your plate when dinner’s over. My practice is empty your plate in the trash can, rinse it off and any food particles it will help take that out.
It’s not made to throw a head of lettuce and you gotta think about this; the disposal grounds everything up and in feeds it out a little bit about an inch and a half in diameter. If what you’re packing in there is something like rice or pasta or anything at all like that cabbage and lettuce are really horrible and I just go back to these are things that I’ve pulled out and it blew my mind how much of that built up you’ve probably got two or three feet of [03:54] before it gets back to the wall and I have literally had to take apart all that and it’s all just packed in there. Look at Pasta for instance, if you chop it up into little bitty pieces you can almost balled it up like a snowball and it builds up in that pipe and clogs it up and there’s not a lot you can do other than take it apart and clean it all out.
John: but at least that’s preferable to it being on the other side of the wall, if you have to take part of your wall out. Well but don’t do it anyway
Roger: Well, luckily we have equipment machines that will go into the wall and clean that up so you don’t have to do that.
John: Now I would think the cabbage and the lettuce and I look at that I go this looks kind of stringy like it would wrap around the blades is that what happens in there?
Roger: No, it really doesn’t wrap around the blades and all of the blades do everything they’re supposed to do, they grind it up so when they put it into the pipe on the discharge side that’s where it starts clogging up.
John: OK Now if somebody is going to change the disposal and that disposal has been there since they first moved into the house do you recommend hey somebody knew what he was doing when he put that disposal in the first place get that size or what are the other options that somebody might look at?
Roger: You can normally upgrade your disposal. I like going to stainless steel blades they are going to last longer; the new disposals, I’ve got to dispose all at home that is actually very quiet. I remember before my father passed away I changed out a disposal for him at home and one thing he wanted and after doing research of course the disposal we got him changed direction each time it came on so it would not jam. And he loved it because his disposal jammed all the time he lived in a house built in the sixty’s and it was probably the original disposal so it had put in it years but he got tired of it jamming up all the time
John: You know I space out sometimes, I don’t think I’d want it really quiet, I think I want to know that disposal is on when it’s on but the number one thing keep your hands away from the sink always. Have there actually been many accidents with people forgetting their finger in there?
Roger: Luckily as a plumber we don’t get those calls. If you stuck your hand in the disposal don’t call your plumber first please call 911 and if you want to call us later I mean and if you video it I’d be interested in seeing that.
John: Oh gruesome! What about the dishwasher now I know I actually fixed the door on my dishwasher when I had gotten moisture in it and wasn’t working right and it was one of these 50/50. It’s so much cheaper to do it myself rather than buy a new dishwasher or the repair I know is going to cost more than half of that if I paid someone else to do it. And I was able to pull it off but what I also did unwittingly was moved the dishwasher and broke the things that had it locked in place which I’ve never heard the end of by the way. But what advice do you get for somebody trying to replace a dishwasher?
Roger: Replacing a dishwasher; I don’t work on dishwashers I replace them. I’ve got a couple different companies in the Richardson and Garland area, Adam The Answer Man is great, Appliances direct is by us in Richardson and you can get parts to rebuild just about anything through these people. And Adam The Answer Man has helped me a lot on repairs around my house when we repair an icemaker, a dishwasher, refrigerator anything non plumbing related.
Changing out the dishwasher is really not that difficult if you look under the front edge of it. There’s a couple of screws, you take those screws out you ondo the cover on the bottom of the front of the dishwasher is normally screws on each side of it so you take those screws out you can look up under there and normally once you take those screws out on top you can kind of take the door or if you can reach under and grab the unit itself it should slide out. You’ve got a water connection and you’ve got a drain connection; both those connections if it’s a relatively newer house go through the wall under the kitchen sink and attach the drain either attaches to your disposal or it’s got a branch tell piece and the water line normally connects to a hot water valve under your sink.
John: OK now somebody is buying a new dishwasher, they’re going to replace it any recommendations for what to look for other than where the silverware goes on the side of the front anything more technical than that that you would suggest.
Roger: I start looking for water smart, I want to get in the high efficiency. If I’m going to spend money on a new dishwasher I want that dishwasher to save me money. That’s one of the most important things that I look for. Appliances- we’re changing out going to a dark stainless or a black stainless now and I like that. Find out what it is you like about a dish washer when you go look at it look for those things. Do you want a tall glass rack you know the one that we put in for my father, we changed out his dishwasher when we did his disposal and his top rack he could change the elevation, he had tall glasses, he had short glasses and believe or not he actually changed that elevation often.
He bought a dish washer that had that feature. Me I would probably buy one that has more plate room for plates and things like that it seems like I always fill up my bottom first and then my top so I would look for something in the bottom that’s maybe a little more organized can help me get more plates maybe even as the silverware up top.
John: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before.
Roger: I believe I have but I’ll have to go back and do some research now and check and see.
John: Well I got that adjustable one of the top and at first I did change it all the time it just that I open up the little covers in the front and slide it out. But I think after about six months I just think you know I never thought about it again just now I just put that glass kind of on an angle it will be OK there.
Anthony the Producer: Can I ask an off base question?
Anthony the Producer: OK see I guess that your wife or you know your better half lost like a piece of jewelry down the drain is that something they can call you for and you can retrieve because I’ve heard in the past like if it goes down the drain it’s not lost it could be in a trap of some sort.
Roger: If you open up either your kitchen sink, now if it goes down the disposal you’re done you know if it’s running. If the disposal is not running then you can actually take your disposal apart. The drain that comes out of the disposal goes through what’s called a P-trap. What the P-trap does is that it helps keep the balance of atmospheric pressure to keep sewer gases from coming up into the house. So that P-trap if you turn it up the reason they call it a P-trap is the way it shaped. If you stand it up on the end it looks like a letter P. So that holds water and it keeps the water sealed.
Normally rings, earrings and anything that can fall down the drain will catch in there, the best thing to do is take a pot or a big plastic bowl slide up under it whether they’re chrome or whether the plastic there is nuts on a channel you can take that apart. And when you take that apart remember like I told you it’s holding water in it already, so when you take those apart you’re going to get that water out it’s going to start draining out the top. Now when you undo the knot back in the wall and slot it out remember that P is still going to be holding water in it. So that’s what that bowl or whatever you used as far so you can dump it in there. Chances are when you dump it in there that piece of jewelry is going to fall in there.
Anthony the Producer: So they don’t need to call you they could actually do that themselves?
Roger: That’s really easy; people can call me for anything, we are a full service company. Any time I can teach people how to save money and it’s so funny because I actually got a couple of emails after the show last time or calls at the office even messages on my Facebook page. Dude you trying to put us out of business why are you telling people how to fix their own plumbing?
You know what if I’ve got an electrician that can teach me how to save money and that electricians now my friend. So my idea was a lot of these things and there’s a lot of things that I try and tell people they’ll call on and I will try one of the most important ones I remember a guy called me because he had a clogged garbage disposal. And he says Roger, look I want you to come over and change at my disposal and he said it’s broken it doesn’t run, it doesn’t spin anymore. And I asked him I said did you reset the button on the bottom he says yeah he says it’s humming but it’s not working. Just come change it and I told him I said you can unstop that if you listen to me and let me tell you how and what I told him is go get your plunger turn it upside down to where you stick the wood handle on it and spin it around like a witch star in a big pot of brew or something. And it’ll unjam it and then reach enter and pull what’s out.
He calls me back five minutes later look it’s not working I need a new one, come change I told him I said look I’m going to come and stop it and I’m going to charge you and here’s the price but I’m going to be there less than five minutes and I drove all the way to his house literally I was there two minutes, unstopped it, pulled out a screw, showed it to him and his words to me are well you’re still going to charge me aren’t you? I said yes sir I told you I was but then we talked probably fifteen twenty minutes me explaining over and over like you can do this it’s really easy to do.
John: I’ve always used the thick Allen wrench on the bottom to sometimes fix things and so it shocked me when it worked which was several times.
Roger: And the thing on that is if it doesn’t spin in one direction but spin in the other whatever is jamming it up that Allan screw on the bottom those blades turn both directions and that’s a great tool to use for unstopping a disposal.
John: And if I’m praying helps to please Jesus help me with this.
Roger: It’s funny I used to be a massage therapist and it doesn’t matter whether I’m a massage therapist, a plumber, cosmetologist whatever but I always say a prayer before I get started and it helps.
John: So we’re talking with Roger Wakefield and ask the experts radio show Roger Wakefield of Texasgreenplumbing.com and we will be right back on Talk Radio 1190.