Removing dishwasher, how to cap off to allow for future reinstallation?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by bodymindheartnsoul, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Hi Everyone,

    My wonderful Kenmore Elite dishwasher recently caught on fire (apparently this is a class action lawsuit thing) and obviously has to be removed. After researching this, I do not want to replace it with any dishwasher at this time, but reserve the right to change my mind down the road! Also, if we sell the house, I'd like the hookups to be there.

    We have determined that we have a not-so-good scenario with the drainpipe and even the supply line. The drainpipe goes directly into the stack via a 12 foot rubber hose, into which a 3" piece of 1/2 copper pipe is clamped, and onto the copper is clamped the actual flexible plastic drain pipe from the dishwasher.

    Can this drain pipe simply be capped off in some way (like a 1/2" Sharkbite cap?) so that no sewer gas/etc. will come out of it? Or should it be professionally removed from the stack? I have yet to try to figure out where it is emptying into the stack, as that is behind a wall and not easily accessed, but possibly do-able.

    I have learned a lot about air gaps on this site, and we for sure don't have one of those going on. Our house is 1959 and clearly not up to code in this department.

    Next, I have no shutoff valves of any kind in this house, and the dishwasher supply line is connected to the main hot water line via a soldered in T-junction that is a mere 1" long on the perpendicular T to the 3/8" soft copper piping going to the dishwasher. Is it possible for me to simply unscrew the 3/8" copper line at the T-junction (it is held on by a silver hex thingy) and put on a 3/8" brass cap with some Teflon tape as an adequate cap-off?

    I ask about this because it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to cut and solder the pipe in this location as it is DIRECTLY above my entire house electrical panel, which is ancient, and also a mere 1 INCH away from the newly-installed Smart Meter and a bulkhead! AARGH! There is literally no possible soldering clearance, as I guess the original job was done before previous owners finished the basement. I'm lucky I can even access it thanks to the suspended ceiling.

    Another option would be to somehow cap off the 3/8" copper piping back up inside the empty hole where the dishwasher will be removed, but I can't seem to find any connector to do that, and obviously it would be better to take it back to the main line if possible to just cap it off there, less water waste, etc.

    I am really hoping that the little $2 Watts brass cap + tape will do the job, as I would like it to be possible to re-install a dishwasher for us or someone else in the future, if need be. I realize of course that some other drain mechanism will have to be plumbed in and brought up to code.

    As well, I am not sure what the wiring situation is back there, but I imagine I can just install some sort of outlet or covered box.

    We intend to just hand wash the dishes for now and use the empty hole to put in some wheel-out shelving unit for more storage, or possibly an additional mini fridge.

    I'm trying to do the job myself, being the resident handywoman, but I do realize that maybe some of this might require the help of a pro! Any advice you guys have would be greatly appreciated. I like to save money where I can so that I can use it for the pros where I need help! :D

    I could provide photos if need be, if I can figure out how to get them on here!
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,347
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    This was really a hack installation for sure! Nothing, but nothing was done right. There are 2 ways to run a DW drain hose. The way that is legal under all codes is the air gap. Some areas allow a high loop where the hose is looped above the level of the DW before going to the drain. After that, there are 2 ways to connect the drain hose. If you have a disposal, the hose connects to it. If you do not have a disposal, then you use a special Y connector prior to the P trap. In either case, the hose is attached prior to the P trap. I would remove whatever connection there is now to the drain as it will never be legal. As far as the water line is concerned, again it is unbelievable that even a raw beginner would connect a DW without a shutoff valve. If it was my house, I'd put a 1/4 turn shutoff valve in right now and have it done with. I do not have a suggestion on just how to make the connections without seeing exactly what you have. It might be possible to use compression fittings where soldering would be difficult. I would make every effort to avoid Sharkbites. You may want to look at some revisions in how the pipes are run, but again, without seeing the mess you have, it's pretty hard to get specific.
  3. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I think the original job was done back in the 1970s, so who knows, maybe it was legal back then. Amazingly, we never had a problem with the dishwasher until it caught on fire, no water or drain issues for sure. What ticks me off is that WE had the NEW dishwasher installed just 6 years ago, and do you think that those installers said ONE WORD about this illegal hookup? Of course not!

    There is no way (solder-wise) to put in a shutoff valve near the dishwasher area, but we could put one in farther down the line BEFORE the dishwasher. There was not a single shutoff valve in this entire house, save for the MAIN one! And the main one we had changed because it was seized. Not even the exterior taps had shutoff valves, and it goes to -40 C here in the winter! We had those put in first thing when we moved in. We also put them in under the kitchen sink so we could replace the faucet there.

    Keep in mind that none of this piping is anywhere near the kitchen sink, or even on the main floor, it is in the basement ceiling and walls below the dishwasher.

    The good news is, now that we know how it SHOULD be done, we can make amends for the future. But I just want it all capped off at this point since we won't be installing a new dishwasher.

    I'll see if I can get a photo of the T-junction and the top of the drain hose connection.
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,347
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Well, you have to fight your own demons, but I would still advice doing whatever is necessary to get shutoff valves installed at all fixtures, and the drain connection permanently dealt with.
  5. liquidplumber

    liquidplumber In the Trades

    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Gastonia NC
    Ive used those little caps you mentioned, but only as a temporary cap when a shutoff wouldnt completley stop the water flow and the entire home couldnt be shut off to make a proper repair (replacing the shutoff). That being said, you could buy a 3/8 shutoff, and put it in backwards. follow me on this. using a 1/2 sweat by 3/8 supply line size straight shutoff. Nomally you would see the 1/2 end soldered to the copper stubbed out of wall and the 3/8 going to the fixture supply, right?.. Flip it backwards. take the 3/8 supply line you have coming from your water connection and tie it into the 3/8 supply line side of the shutoff.
    normally a brass ferrule comes with the shutoff so you dont need anything else. Now you have a shutoff. you could even for extra security, (out in the yard away from your wiring before you install it)solder in a piece of 1/2 copper with a capped end into the shutoff making it irrelevant if you accidentally opened the shutoff while packing away some twinkies under the sink.
    It doesnt matter which direction water is going into or out of the shutoff. the shut off will SHUT IT OFF... thats what it does. And in any case it would buy you some time before you go about installing proper shutoffs for your fixtures, which is really what needs to be done.

    As for your drain, obviously its totally wrong, but with what you have i would say yes, sharkbite the little copper stub that was used to join the DW hose and the rubber hose. At some point youre going to need to figure out where that rubber hose goes and deal with what you find. If its tied in somewhere and that connection isnt tight and sound, its going to be the first place sewage comes from in the event of a back up. If it is tight and sound, you may be able to just forget that it exists and leave the sharkbite cap fix as is.

    I should end by saying, my solution isnt as good as doing it right the first time, but at this point, i think its the best, easiest solution
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  6. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Well, I started my morning today checking out what I could in the mere 1.5 foot access hole to the cast iron drain stack beneath all this stuff behind the walls on the basement floor. It was very interesting!

    It appears that dishwasher drain pipe leads to an ABS 90 degree elbow into the cast iron drain pipe/stack. The sink drain also goes into the cast iron pipe/stack, and there is a third branch that would have gone to the original concrete sink tub that came with the house. I have been in other models of our house on the street that still have this original laundry sink in place so I know that's the source of the 3rd branch pipe. It appears to have some ABS attached to it too but I can't see (without opening up the wall) if it is capped off in any way. Could it possibly be functioning as the air gap??


    Liquidplumber, you wrote: "take the 3/8 supply line you have coming from your water connection and tie it into the 3/8 supply line side of the shutoff."

    Does this mean, detach the 3/8" from the dishwasher base itself (there is a silver hex screw thingy on the end of the copper line there) and screw it onto the shutoff valve? As simple as that, no soldering? I am blind here since I don't have a shutoff valve in front of me to look at! :) That would be a simple trick. Of course, the copper tubing is probably about a foot or more long under the dishwasher before it goes down below the floor. I can just leave it in the cabinet space for now.

    So does that 3/8" tubing then just have hot water in it at all times? Because I could maybe strap it upwards to the wall or to the floor to prevent it from being punctured or whatever.

    You know, we already HAVE had a sewer backup in our house near that whole cast iron branch configuration, that is where the plumber spent 4 solid hours reaming out the cast iron drain from the kitchen to the front of the house. But when it all backed up, it backed up and came out the FLOOR DRAIN that is about 5 feet away from the cast iron, so maybe that is the default spillover. All of this piping is on the back wall of the house so there are 2 floor drains for it to come out of before any sewage gets to the kitchen stuff.

    As for the drain hose, I think I could use the Sharkbite solution on the DW drain hose for now. But looking at where it goes into the ABS elbow, I think I could just find some sort of fitting to cap the ABS there, correct?

    Is it possible that the DW has been draining and working just fine all this time because it is basically gravity fed right down to the basement floor and tying into the same cast iron drain as everything else?

    I sketched a diagram this morning and I do have some photos but I'm not sure how to get them on here yet, because I tried to upload them and they say they are all too big and I have no idea how to resize them.
  7. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Okay, I think I figured out how to resize the photos, so here goes.

    First up is the T-connection from the main line to the 3/8" supply to DW.

    Second is the DW drain hose connecting to the copper piece stuck into the rubber hose going off to the distant stack/drain.

    Third is the amount of wiring near all this stuff, as all piping is just above the entire house electrical panel and Smart Meter.

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  8. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Here are some more photos where all this stuff drains into the main drain/stack:

    First one is the ABS elbow that connects the DW drain hose into the cast iron drain and stack.

    Second is another view of this elbow and where it connects into the 3-armed drain/stack.

    Third and fourth are just more shots of the same.

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  9. liquidplumber

    liquidplumber In the Trades

    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Gastonia NC
    Yep, you could do exactly that with the supply line and a shutoff. Where the supply line ties into the dishwasher would be a really easy place to do that. You could also cut the tubing wherever was convienient and do what i was saying..

    Never seen a drain like that.. looks sketchy at best.... At a minimum I would sharkbite cap that copper that joins the drain hose to the rubber extension hose. I'd look at a way to actually permanently cap that thing where it goes into the ABS pipe. If it threads in, then maybe a threaded plug would work. Its probably 3/4 male thread
  10. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I am now in the posession of a 3/8" to 3/8" shutoff valve. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to disconnect the 3/8" copper at the dishwasher end and simply screw it onto the shutoff valve. Then I'm going to shut it off, and cap the other side with my 3/8" cap and Teflon tape. Then I'm going to strap the pipe to the floor or wall to keep it from flopping around in there. It will be all ready for future use if need be.

    Meanwhile, I am going to see about cutting the drywall open to get at that octopus of a drain we've got there and see if we can detach the drain hose at the ABS going into the main drain. Of course, this involves having to build a door there in the wall which why one doesn't already exist I do not know! This is why I HATE finished basements! Would never have one if I hadn't inherited it. You never can know what is going on behind all the stuff. Since I'm not a carpenter, this might take a little work.

    Before I can get to the permanent detaching of this drain hose thing, I will simply stick a cork in it and put a bag over it taped up tight until I can get the access door made and the permanent detachment.

    Yesterday I discovered another no-no, a basement sink drain with no P-trap. Also, my shutoff valves to the kitchen sink are compression fit, which I do not like the sounds of, and thankfully there is room for soldering some REAL ones in. Sigh. I guess it's going to be the Year of Plumbing Fixes.

    I am very thankful for all the brainstorming help I've had here and other places regarding all these things! And that I can do some of it myself is also a big bonus because I'd like to save the $ for where I really need it.
  11. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    I would cut that copper tee out for the dishwasher water supply and replace it. Looks like a bad solder job. I would install a new tee and turn the pipe out of the wall and install the shut off outside the wall and under the k-sink. I would use a 1/2" sweat x 3/8" o.d. compression valve.(personal choice). I would also cap off the drain connection and install a drain connection under the K-sink.....outside of the wall and before the inlet of the P-trap.

    I'd be careful too,thats a mess of wires.
  12. bodymindheartnsoul

    bodymindheartnsoul New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I don't think I can replace the T junction because this T is one INCH away from the big plastic Smart Meter and all the 2x4s so there is no clearance for the heat or any hands! All of the soldering in the house looks like this.
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