Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Doing the Nasty

Well, I had some not fun things to do this evening.

First, our garbage disposal has been leaking a bit lately; and of course here, anywhere there's a leak, there's mold immediately. I just hadn't had the time to take care of it yet; but it wasn't really a big deal, because the leak was more of a little tiny drip every once in a while.

Well, in the last couple days, the leak suddenly got much worse, and of course so did the mold; which meant it was time to fix it whether I wanted to or not.

Now understand, up 'til tonight, I hadn't looked at it myself, I just had reports from Mel. Based on her description of the leak, and my 2 second look at the top of the drain flange, I told her it was probably just a bad gasket, and asked her to grab one.

Well, she did grab one... two actually.. not the correct ones for some reason; because she swore she got the ones that matched the part number of the disposal... but anyway...

First thing was to do a test run and see what was wrong... except Mel had fit some kind of gasketed plastic stopper in the top of the drain to stop it from leaking while she was washing dishes, and the damn thing had welded itself in. I literally had to break it up with a screwdriver and pliers.

Next I flipped the switch and SCRREEEEEEEEECH RATTLERATTLERATTLEE...... God damn I hate that sound.

Apparently the girls had been throwing things into the disposal; including a penny, a nickel, a very large screw, and a piece of heavy wire.

...and of course the thing is also clogged with food that hadn't gone down the drain.


So I clean it out, and get under the sink, and apparently the thing has been leaking for YEARS; because the wood of the cabinet was unhappy, and had been for a long time. Then I look up at the underside of the flange...

... only I can't actually SEE the underside of the flange, because some genius sprayed foam sealant all over the thing.

Foam sealant which had never cured (which means it was a thin hardened crust over foamy slime) in at least the two and a half years we've lived here; but which was a lovely harbor for mold and bacteria.


Oh lord. How stupid and amateurish do you have to be?

So after scraping, peeling, and rubbing the muck off the thing, I could finally see the leak, but not any part of the gasket. I unscrewed the tension ring and discovered why that was.

The gasket had dissolved completely. There were little scummy fragments of it all over.


So I sent Mel out to the local ACE to get the right gasket, and tried to pull the flange...

Nothing doing.

Oh joy.

Even my strap wrench couldn't budge the thing without breaking the plastic part of the flange; and I couldn't take the torch to it (which I would have done with a higher quality piece) without melting it.

My two options were to replace the whole disposal (which I probably have to do at some point anyway. It's cheap contractor grade crap, and at least 20 years old), or try and squeeze the thankfully tough gasket (vulcanized butyl rubber, like a truck innertube) over the top flange, then in between the inner drain pipe, and the mating flange of the sink.

...which thankfully worked.

So once again we have a functioning and non leaking disposal. I leave the mold cleanup to the Mel.