Friday, Irene worked in the morning again and I got started on the plumbing. I was dreading doing the hot and cold water pipes based on my last experience sweating (soldering) the isolation valves in. It didn’t turn out to be too bad and took me only a day to do. I started by drilling small 1/8″ holes through the cabinet and floor where I wanted the hot and cold water pipes to come up. The small hole was to make sure I wasn’t too close to the floor joist I knew was close by, or worse yet trying to drill through it. The position of the holes was good so I drilled all the way through with a 1″ speedbore bit. The holes ended up such that I just had to make up some spacers so I could attach the pipes to the side of the joist that was between the two. I initially thought I would have to run a board across two joists and attach the drop elbow to the top of that board. The second way ended up being easier, but I had to change my plans a bit.
After that I sweated the valves that would shut off the hot water to the faucet and dishwasher, and a union. For the cold side I used a screw on valve but still had to sweat on an adapter. The screw on valve and union was so I can take everything apart if i need to in the future. All this sweating was done on my work bench, which made it easier and these pieces sweated easier than the ball valves. I should have taken pictures of this stuff along the way but I was too focused on getting it done. Once all that stuff was mounted up it was time to connect it to the pipes coming from the infamous ball valves. There was just enough misalignment between the two sets of pipes to make this not straightforward. This meant a trip to the home improvement store looking for solutions. I had to return some stuff anyway.
My options were:
- Go all copper and sweat everything. I was not looking forward to doing soldering in the crawl space. I’d have to make three or more sweat joints on each pipe.
- Use hoses meant for connecting a faucet. I almost went this route but found the threaded copper fittings I would need to connect the hoses to the pipe were expensive for hunks of copper.
- I recently found out that my local Lowes supposedly carries PEX. Indeed they did! Somehow I missed it in previous trips, and I looked! Anyways, I decided to go this route since it would keep my from having to use fire in the crawlspace and would accommodate the misalignment in the two sets of pipes easily. The only downside is that I would have to invest in an expensive crimping tool. I solved that by using push-on fittings, since one elbow I used earlier was holding up so far. Besides, I could always switch out the fittings later. This option was also pretty cost effective, the cheapness of the PEX offsets the cost of the push-on fittings.
So this is what everything looks like below the crawl space.
I finished up in the early evening. Unfortunately Irene wasn’t feeling good and was sleeping. I had to wait until Saturday morning so she could watch for leaks when I turned the water on. Amazingly there were none! There was a hitch though. The faucet sprayer hose could get caught on the hot water shutoff valve. After contemplating moving the whole pipe coming up from the crawlspace I decided to try place something between the valve and the hose. I found scrap of sheet metal I cut out from the range vent cover in the basement. I cut out a small piece of it and attached it to the wall. It worked great to keep the hose from snagging.
Next I headed to back Lowes with the Ikea sink strainer in hand to buy the parts for the drain piping. It took a little bit to find what I needed. None of the double sink drain kits seemed like they would work. For one the connection wasn’t the correct type. Two, they were a half inch too short. Three, I don’t like the thin plastic they are made of anyways and I don’t like the chrome ones: the chrome doesn’t hold up and is a waste being hidden inside a cabinet. I have to say that that section of the store was a mess. Lots of empty bins, bins with the wrong parts in them, plastic bags ripped open where people had stolen parts out of kits. I finally found the correct tailpieces and other parts I needed to make things work and headed home. Since the usual slip joint piping used under a sink is thin, flimsy, and prone to leak I decided to make mine out of solvent welded (fancy for glued together) PVC pipe. I got home and started measuring, fitting, and gluing.
This is where I stopped Saturday evening because we had some friends coming over for our monthly dinner club! This month was ours to host and as long as we had a working stove we were going back to hosting. Irene spent most of the day moving everything back into the kitchen and cleaning up the dining room (former makeshift kitchen) so it was fit for company. We decided to make Alton Brown’s Tenderloin Roast. We’ve made it a few times now and it’s a real favorite of ours. This meant I would be the one to cook and we would give a good test to the range hood since it involves searing the meat on a hot cast iron pan.
The range hood worked great. No smoke detectors going off, which is not what happened the first two times we made this dish. We got to celebrate with some champagne…
We had a great night, but it wasn’t over yet. We will continue the story in the next post…