I went to a client’s house yesterday to hook up a sink and dishwasher line after they had new granite installed in their kitchen. The valves required replacing and the garburator was older so rather than installing it and having the unit fail only to be replaced later we installed a new one for them.
A few things happened on this job that I don’t normally see. Before I came to their house they always used a handyman to repair all of their plumbing and do little plumbing jobs. One of the problems they had was the water would reversed on their shower and would not get hot on their bath tub. In both cases the handyman replaced the cartridge of the single lever shower and bathtub faucets. And in both cases he made a mistake that left the homeowners having to deal with the situation later on.
The funny part of this is that this happened two years prior to me getting there. The shower faucet cartridge was put in backwards and the bathtub faucet had the heat setting down too low. I am not sure how she was even able to take a bath but for two years she bathed in barely lukewarm water! This just baffled me!
Since we had to shut of the water to their house anyway this was a very easy fix.
Water Line for Ice Maker and Drinking Water in Refrigerator
They had a handyman come in and install the water line to the fridge when he bought a new fridge. The installation was fine except for one thing. I would never use quarter inch polyethylene tubing for anything. And this client is the perfect example. This is exactly what this handyman had done, and just 2 years later the line had burst and partly flooded their basement.
Some handymen and women might be good at what they do, but plumbing is a huge industry that takes years to fully learn everything.
The Right Way
The best way to run a water line to your fridge is with a half inch PEX line that goes up behind the fridge to a quarter turn shutoff valve. From that point install a quarter inch braided supply tube from the valve to the fridge.
To do this I have to find a line that I can branch off of. In this case the line was in the basement below the fridge. He already had PEX in his house so I could just cut in a Tee fitting and go from there. In some cases you might need to cut into copper or Poly-B and use adapters to switch over to PEX.
PEX has been around for a very long time and is far superior to polyethylene, at least in my opinion.
His 1/4 inch line came up through the floor about 6 inches from the wall, which means that the fridge would have to bend the line when being pushed into the cabinet space. We had to drill a new hole closer to the wall, and since he had tile we had to use a 3/4 inch diamond bit. Which worked great! Once we were through the tile then we would use a regular hole saw bit to finish off the hole. Of course, prior to drilling the hole we looked in the basement to make sure there was no electrical lines that might be damaged by us..,nobody every wants to hit an electrical line.
Whenever I do a hook up for someone that is getting new counter tops of any kind I always ask how old their garburator is. The reason for this is I charge the same to install the old unit as I do to install the new unit. The only difference is changing out the electrical which takes all of five minutes, so I just keep my price the same.
Side note: If you have never used a garburator or garbage disposal then you should be aware of what can and cannot go down. I never put potatoes, egg shells, chicken bones, or onions into my garburator. The reason for this is you might damage the unit or even worse you could cause a major plug further down your plumbing system.
This customer went with a smaller unit than I would go with. If you are buying a unit yourself get at least the 444 from Insinkerator, or if you have us pick it up we can get you the 333 pro version. Anything smaller just does not have the capacity. There are bigger and better, which is fine, but do not go any smaller.
Outside Water Lines
While I was in his house I did notice something that should have been done from when the home was first built. The shut off valves for his outside hose bibs did not have bleeders. Which is ok if the hose bibs are the non-freeze type, which would not even need to be turned off in the winter, but these were not. So, since the water was off to the house we quickly installed a couple of valves that would allow for proper draining in the future.
If your basement is finished there is nothing worse that have a line freeze and crack then flood your basement. Take these precautions yourself and protect your home for years to come.