Monday, November 17, 2008

Installing a garbage disposal

In a second installment of our continuing series on home improvement (see Installing a Faucet here), I bring you: Installing a Garbage Disposal.

Of course, of course, our garbage disposal would decide to break just when the sink looked something like this:

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sometimes lets their sink get out of control like this. In my defense, our garbage disposal hasn't been working very well, so it doesn't take much to stop up the drain as you see above. I almost replaced the disposal a few weeks ago as a preemptive measure, but I never got around to it. And then it broke and I had to do it, at its convenience instead of mine (and it was definitely not mine).

So the girls and I went to Home Depot, chose a new garbage disposal, bought it, and brought it home. Then we set about taking apart the old one. How hard could it be, really? That's what I thought, anyway. Famous last words.

It wasn't long before I felt like I was in over my head. The instructions were full of terms like "wrenchette," "flange," and "snap ring," as well as an extensive warning section informing me of the shock hazards inherent in this project, seeing as it involved a metal sink, dripping water, and an outlet. I actually ended up calling a plumber, but he said that it would take at least two days to schedule an installation. Never mind! Still, there were at least two more times during the whole process when I wanted to call back and just pay some one to do it for me.

My work setup was as you see here:

Clueless first-time installer (that's me): check. Fussy baby: check. Three-year-old occupying said fussy baby's seat: check. Same three-year-old monopolizing and occasionally running off with essential tools: check. A totally torn-apart kitchen with no available counter space and a dishwasher full to bursting, just waiting for the project to be done so it can run again: check!

I finally got into a groove and things were going swimmingly. I got the old one out, the mounting apparatus for the new one in, and it was time to hook up the disposal itself. Then we hit a major snag when I realized that the new disposal did not have - get this - a power cord. Now, maybe I'm just new at this, but it seems to me that if your product, which requires a power cord to function, does not include said power cord in the box when you buy it, there ought to be, oh I don't know, a HUGE RED STICKER TELLING YOU SO ON THE BOX. Otherwise, you end up loading both girls back into the car, making an additional trip to Home Depot, and spending another $11.95 on a "plug kit."

I called before I went, to make absolutely sure that's what I needed (the directions were less than forthcoming). In my conversation with the plumbing department employee, I lost any coolness points I may have acquired for doing my own garbage disposal installation because when I was asking him what was in the kit, I had to describe it something like this:

"So, the kit has the plug, and the cord that splits into three parts, with the wires sticking out, and one of the parts has a green circle at the end? And then there's a plastic ring where it comes out of the disposal? And the cappy things where the wires hook together?"

Obviously, I am not an electrician, but I set to work on connecting the power cord to the disposal. There I was stripping back wire casings and attaching black to black and white to white, and putting in grounding screws, etc. I felt like I was building a bomb, and I wasn't entirely confident that the whole thing wouldn't just explode when I got around to plugging it in.

The whole process took much longer than expected, or hoped, but it did get finished. And everything actually worked! No explosions involved.

I was going to write a nastygram to the garbage disposal company about the missing power cord, but the Home Depot people told me that not including it in the box is standard. Which may be true, but that doesn't make it right.

Any guesses on what I get to learn how to fix next? Actually, don't tell me, because I kind of don't want to know.


ThomasCL said...

That sounds pretty hardcore. I always find myself strutting around the house after putting together IKEA tables and fixing flat tires. A garbage disposal sounds a lot cooler.
I was hoping to find something written in the letters in the sink, but the only letter is X. All the rest are symbols or runes or something.
Are Lucky Charms pagan?

Jennifer said...

I am very impressed. I don't think I could do that without two kids also needing my attention!

Amanda said...

I'm am so incredibly impressed. In my last apartment, I turned the disposal on to hear a metallic clinking noise. I turned it of and went fishing thinking it was a spoon or something. Nope, I pulled out the blade which had rusted off. No way in a million years would I have considered fixing it myself. You are my new hero.

Liz Johnson said...

WOW. You are amazing. I have no words.

Matt said...

You are amazing! Good job for figuring out how to install a garbage disposal. Matt installed a dishwasher by himself this last summer and that was quite the experience. I can't even imagine having to do something like that with two little kids. Really you are amazing.

Lilianne and Jason Wright said...

Bridget, you are so hardcore. I would have NEVER attempted this...I'm very impressed to say the least.

Way to go!

Bridget said...

Before you all get too impressed, remember that it was do it myself or pay $100+ and wait two days for somebody else to do it. The biggest challenge was probably not the installation itself, but the 2 kids hanging around (and jumping on me) while I did it.

sarah said...

still, very cool. if i ever have a disposal issue, you will be my first person to call :)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Because of your expertise, expect to chip away through a list of chores while you're here for TG, not the least of which is installing new faucets in 2 sinks.

Mikael said...

I am amazed you do all the fixing up in the house. I would never attempt, unless Derek were out of country for months on end, my dad was gone for some reason, father in law had left... wait, so I still would never do this. I would just ask some guy from my ward! You are brave and smart

Scotty P said...

Why didn't your weeney husband help out?

Jeanerbee said...

I am woman. Hear me roar. Wow Bridge! You rock! That is totally ambitious with two little ones underfoot! I still can barely manage to get myself dressed and fed....

Bridget said...

Scott, Jeremy was passed out on the couch, still suffering from pneumonia. Is that a good enough excuse for you?



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