gap in plumbing under kitchen sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by CarolLee, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Ok, so I go to get something out from under the kitchen sink and the cottage cheese I just put down the garbage disposal is all over everything!

    When I checked the pipes, I found that the tube that comes out of the garbage disposal is sitting above the white plastic drain pipe. It looks as if maybe the house settling has caused about a 1/4 inch gap between these two pipes. My question is if this is even legal to do plumbing this way. I would have expected to have seen everything connected and sealed. My neighbor says maybe they did it this way so gases could be released.

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  2. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    SW Florida
    It was likely plumbed with slip connections but maybe someone had to "stretch" the connection to make it fit. When installed correctly there is usually no problem and it might be relatively easy to redo.

    Got any pics.........of the setup, not necessarily the cheese.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,293
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pipe

    Any "settling" of the house would not separate your drain pipes unless the walls went down and the sink stayed up where it was.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  4. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Here are a couple of pics, I think.

    [/ATTACH]


    I'm new at this posting pic thing but here goes.

    Attached Files:

  5. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Thanks for the input. I thought maybe the pipes were settling or something because there is actually a bigger gap now than when I found it a week ago. When I first noticed the problem, the white pipe had been bumped out of alignment with the black one. When I pushed it back, I noticed the connector at the top of the white pipe was loose. When I tightened it down, I realized it had been left loose on purpose. There was a fine line between having it loose enough (which lets it sit higher) that it hid the gap between the two pipes and tight enough so that the water didn't leak out between the connector and the pipe. Now the gap is so big, you can't hide it with the connector anymore.
  6. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I just came across a job like this. The pipe coming from the disposal was just not long enough to reach into the tee fitting. What I ended up doing was cutting the tailpipe pipe on the left side shorter to raise the tee fitting with the waste are up high enough to securely attach to the discharge of the garbage disposal.

    You might run into the trouble that the tee fitting is not seated very deep in the P-trap as well. If this is the case, then you will need to add an extension pipe between the tee and the trap.

    The pipes where not cut to proper sizes to allow for a proper fit, and with the disposal running it will cause any pipes that where assembled with any tension, or twisting of the pipes to "make" them fit will make them come apart.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  7. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Would this be against code? I am wondering if I can hold the builder responsible for redoing it correctly and perhaps repairing damage from the leak. The house is about six years old.

    Thanks.
  8. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Most homes come with a 1 year warranty on the plumbing. So if its been 6 years I doubt it. But it would not hurt to contact the builder, the worse thing they can tell you is know its not covered. You can also contact your home owners insurance company and ask them if they would cover the water damage repairs. Again the worse thing they can tell you is no.
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Those are slip joint fittings.

    At one point, it was all connected.
    And it worked for six years until someone bumped the pipes.

    It's up to the homeowner to check on those things occasionally,
    Just like adding gas and oil to a car, making coffee in the morning and washing dishes after meals.

    Just reach down there and stick it back on,
    It won't bite you.

    Someone pulled the horizontal pipe downward, pulling the tee too low.
  10. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Hi Terry,
    I'm kind of laughing at myself right now because I know you are trying to help me and I'm just not following you. When you say, "reach down there and stick it back on.", what am I sticking back on? I'm trying to think of what you might mean but the pipes just don't reach each other. I can push up on the whole pipe assembly and the white pipe will overlap the black pipe but it doesn't stay when I let go. I thought maybe you meant there was something down inside the white pipe that has something to do with the connection but I "reached down" and there is nothing in there.

    When I said "bumped" in my earlier post, that was more for ease of explaining. The pipes were just a hair off of being aligned with each other and the only bumping these pipes have experienced is the vibration of the garbage disposal. I've had empty boxes stored under there since we moved in and other than that the only items I use under there are right up front, next to the door. The only thing I can think of is when I cleaned up the mess, I may have applied a little downward pressure to the pipes when I wiped them off - maybe that is why it is worse now than it was. When I first discovered the problem, I pulled everything out from under the sink and turned on the faucet and it didn't leak. It wasn't until I checked all the nuts and tightened down the one at the end of the white pipe that I discovered that the nut was loose, seemingly to hide the gap between the two pipes. If I loosened the nut just enough to hide the gap, the water would not leave the pipes unless I turned on the garbage disposal - the vibration disturbed the path of the water from one pipe to the other.

    I tried doing a search on "slip joint assembly" and I am not seeing anything that is helping me understand this. Do you mean that the garbage disposal pipe just slips down into the white pipe and there really isn't supposed to be something that actually connects them?

    Thanks Terry
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    Underneath the nut on the fitting, there is a tapered washer. When the pipe is inserted through the nut and the washer and you tighten the nut, it wedges itself against the pipe making a seal, and holding it together. Put it back together and make sure it is tight. If done properly, it should be very difficult to near impossible to pull apart. Gravity is pulling the long arm down...the longer it sits, the further down it is likley to go. If there is a lot of tension on the arm when you reinsert things, you may need to replace some bits. Constant tension and the vibrations from using the GD can push the parts apart, especially if they weren't real tight in the first place. This should take all of about 5-minutes...don't wait - the open pipe is letting sewer gasses into your house.
  12. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    There is no need for pipe dope on slip joint fittings.

    The guy in the video is a hack.

    He should have used a different basket on the right, which would have allowed the used of a straight pipe from the disposer into the tee, and therefore he wouldn't have had to reverse the weir on the trap.
    Pretty hack.

    He did a good job on the audio and video portion of the video though.
    He just isn't a plumber.

    [​IMG]
  14. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Just took another look . . .

    I just took another look, unscrewed the nut to check the diameter of the white tube and it is the same diameter as the black tube. So, the black tube will not slip down inside the white tube. The nut is the only thing to channel the water from one tube to another. Don't know if this is normal or not.
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The white nut needs to be unscrewed and lifted off.

    Put the white nut higher up on the black tube, and then take the slip joint washer and push it up on the pipe too.

    Then, you will be able to drop the pipe into the white tee, and snug the nut back up.
    I don't use any wrenches on these. Hand tight is good enough.

    You are almost there!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  16. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Ok, just read your posts. I see the washer but it is the same diameter as the black pipe - it doesn't fit the pipe. ???
  17. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Ok, husband just got involved. I didn't realize you could stretch the washer to fit. He's working with it now.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  18. CarolLee

    CarolLee New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Missouri
    Ok, we got it together! Thanks so much!!!!


    Yeah, I am bad about not testing the "give" in things and not knowing when you have to force something. My husband is the opposite and typically breaks everything he tries to fix. (He gets really mad when I say that, lol.) After yelling at him to wait until I read the posts, we actually worked together for once.

    Well this was quite a learning experience. Thank you for helping us out!

    Carol Lee
  19. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    And here's your gold star.

    [​IMG]
    Gold Star for Plumbing expertise
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