Why Am I Standing In Water?

I’m no plumber, and I don’t know a lot about it, but I admittedly like plumbing. Like, I really like plumbing. Have you ever watching Ask This Old House? If no, you should. If yes, my favorite segments are the plumbing ones.

I have no explanation for this.

So when this morning I found myself standing in a puddle of water while I rinsed the coffee pot out I may or may not have had a little spark in my eye along with the inevitable, “what the..?!” that went through my mind.

It turns out the elbow of the drain had a hole through it and if you pushed your finger on it, it simply crumbled. Even though I like plumbing Andy actually knows how to do it and do it right. So I told him about it, came back downstairs by myself and looked at it again.

I knew I could fix it. I was determined that I was going to fix it. I asked Andy if he wanted to come to Home Depot with me and he laughed and said, “I’ll go the second time”, implying I would get the wrong stuff the first time. Nothing like a little teasing to make me dig my heels in. Challenge on.

First I put a sticky note on the right side of our double sink (the side with the hole) to make sure no one used it. Luckily changing this pipe out isn’t something you need to shut the water off for. Excuse the much needed sink wipe down, I couldn’t run the water for that side of the sink.

Then I asked Andy where our plumbing stuff was and grabbed our handy dandy pipe wrench and loosened the nuts on either side of the 15″ pipe.

I removed the entire pipe and nuts to bring with me (because I was only going once to the store for this). Yep, definitely a hole. And a really really gross pipe.

So off I went to pick up the right pieces. It cost me just under $15.00 total for a 1.5″ 15 inch waste arm and two 1.5 inch “slip joint nuts with washer”. I put that in quotes because I had no idea what they were called until I got to the store. I just matched up what I had. I can tell you though that there is also a 1.5″ to 1.4″ slip joint nut for when the pipe you’re connecting to is slightly smaller. It seems like 1.5″ is standard though. If you didn’t have either you might be looking at about $30.00? I have no idea how much pipe wrenches cost.

Old vs. New. Yikes.

The next step was to wipe down the pipes left under the sink and put some pipe joint compound onto the threads. I tried tape at first but didn’t like the connection it gave, so I took it off and switched methods.

The one thing you need to make sure of is that you have the washers facing the right way. I accidentally put the left one on wrong at first and had a small leak. Once I turned it the right way and re-tightened everything there was no leak. The photo below shows the right way to put it on. Ignore the piece on the top of this photo with compound on it, focus on the red piece. If you are curious though, it was a small gasket that was causing it not to tighten enough and it didn’t leak without it so no problem. Also ignore the fact that I have that upside down in this photo too. The rest is right.

Once I got everything going the right way, I battened down the hatches and tested the water.

Boo yah, no more leak!

Despite having one washer backwards, and a piece I decided not to use, I consider this a success.

In one trip.

Challenge won.

Happy Plumbing,


3 thoughts on “Why Am I Standing In Water?

  1. I can do this! My pipe is ok, but the washer part is cracked. Think I’ll replace the pipe while I’m at it!

    My dad always used the tape, but the tube type stuff looks easier. Thanks for the little tutorial. I will totally tackle this next weekend. And take all the bits with me to the hardware store.

    Hopefully I’ll have a plumbing win too.

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