What I'm Seeing Now

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Thinking Too Deeply

When someone is thinking too deeply, they can get trapped in an idea.  And what was imagined ends up not becoming exactly what it should, and isn't right.

Getting trapped in an idea is exactly what has happened here.

Turning on the water in this sink to test it I noticed that it drained very slowly.  VERY slowly.

The pop up drain maybe could have opened a little higher and needed an adjustment.

But still, it drained VERY slowly!

Hair?  Goopy clog?

Looking underneath I think we know why!

Ideally a trap under a sink is about 4" deep.  That's deep enough to store water to prevent sewer gases from entering the house.  And it's not so deep that water passes easily.

Like the porridge and beds in the Goldilocks adventure, the depth of 4" traps is just right.

Well, in over thinking this trap, what did this "plumber" do?

  • It is exceptionally deep, so there is more trapped water, about 18", than there is water forcing it down (then up).  Hence the slow drain.
  • There are four handsome compression fittings!  More is better, right?
  • Slightly askew, what could be better to align everything than some nice accordion material, sure to last a long, long time!
  • Hard to see perhaps, there is putty or caulking where the white tubing meets the metal on the left, at the top compression fitting on the right, and the lower compression fitting on the right.
  • Properly plumbed nothing here would leak and putty or caulking would not be necessary.  But hey, it isn't leaking now so the objective was met!  Right on!

My recommendation:  slow drains can mean a lot of things.  But it's always fun to have a look under the hood, so to speak, and see how things are done!  You might just find some deep thinking!  And a deeeeeep trap!  In this case it was a LOT of fun! And when things aren't right, well, they just aren't right.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 35 commentsJay Markanich • July 19 2012 03:55AM

Comments

I would have known it was too deep and not the 4" part - I know that too much water in the pipes would have to be displaced for the water to drain....good call

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) almost 7 years ago

Interesting to see what you might see next to the calamine lotion.  That is a really big trap...never seen one that deep.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) almost 7 years ago

I have seen the straight shots with no traps and the gas issue can't be missed.

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) almost 7 years ago

Wallace - everyone who has had a 7th grade science class knows about displacement! 

Kathryn - these traps happen a lot, but this one was especially well decorated!

Richard - those are out there too!  I have had that post as well...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay. Really curious the thinking behind adding extensions to both sides when it looks like they could have made it work fine and saved space without the extra fittings.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) almost 7 years ago

In the case of drains...slow and steady does not win the race...and better to see if the Hair/Hare can run more quickly !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

Exactly Randy.  Homeowner job to be sure!  The thinking isn't always understood by me, or rational other peope like you!

S&D - you got that right!  This was a VERY slow drain!  And likely without any hair.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you are right, most of the time it is hair trapped around the stopper. When Joe Handyman replaces his old sinks, sometimes the plumbing becomes very inventive!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 7 years ago

This is truly inventive Fred, well decorated and very deeply thought out!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

The prescribed length of the seal is 2" - 4", which could easily be accomplished here by removing some pipe. I would believe the leaking is likely caused by the additional water sitting in the pipe. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, The deep trap theory was just tested ; ) Also I am looking for any documents that show those accordion pipes are actually an approved plumbing pipe.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, You are such a wealth of knowledge and I see exactly what you mean.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) almost 7 years ago

Jim - I have to think this trap was proper originally.  It was changed for whatever reason this guy thought it needed to be - perhaps a new cabinet.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Love the accordion pipes Don!  I have a plumber friend who calls that a "temporary repair."  That's the kind of thing he does short term if he doesn't have something necessary on the truck and needs to come back in a couple of days.

Thanks Debbie.  These things can get fun, but still, we want to be instructive.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Morning Jay,  The cost for all the extra parts might have covered the cost of a real plumber !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 7 years ago

Who knows, Bill, you may be right!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Morn' Jay. That is funny, I think I know what happened - first off, there where no instructions, second "what water in the trap?"... I'm guessing someone doesn't have a license for something...I'm amazed at what people do that actually things worse.

Posted by Terkel Sørensen, Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales (Real Estate Places) almost 7 years ago

Once again the point of knowing something and charging accordingly is made...very well here I might add. That type of information is what veterans in any business are selling and it is worth the purchase price too...good one here Jay

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 7 years ago

To be sure. .just call an experienced inspector that knows his stuff. .  . like you! 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 7 years ago

I recently visited a property that had a combination of pvc, galvanized steel, plastic and cast iron.

Good stuff.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Great info from an expert in the field... leave it to a pro to spot the problem.

Two weeks ago, I had my teenagers clean out the drain pipe under their bathroom sink and remove the glob of long brown hair that had gathered there.  Works like a charm now.

Posted by Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) almost 7 years ago

I don't think he was over thinking when the plumber did this.  It's just easier to connect something that is longer rather than manuvering in a 4" space.

Posted by Chris and Dick Dovorany, Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty ( Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida) almost 7 years ago

I would not have installed it this way if I knew YOU were going to inspect my work Jay.fairfax county real estate agents Jan and Steve Bachman

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) almost 7 years ago

This could not have been done by a licensed plumber. Looks like a project from a "honey do" list.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) almost 7 years ago

Another from the halls of the DIY home owner.  That's why I don't do ANYTHING around the house myself that involves anything mechanical...outside of changing filters and light bulbs.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 7 years ago

Good evening, Jay. What a goof-ball. Just because you can purchase those expandable connectors at the big box stores, doesn't mean they are code legal...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 7 years ago
Hi Jay, That old expression of " too much of a good thing is wonderful" certainly does not apply to sink plumbing. Rule of thumb, Small traps are for sinks, big traps are for catching Bears, LOL
Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) almost 7 years ago

Terkel - the creativity of man will never cease to amaze!

Richie - a veteran amateur created this little wonder!  And a fun one it is!

Thanks Fernando.  This one wasn't hard to spot!

Anthony - must have been an older house.  They usually have a mish mash of plumbing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Should have installed another flexi pipe on the drain side so the trap could be moved down when company comes. A slow drain might keep the in-laws stay to a minimum. 

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) almost 7 years ago

Sandy - cleaning old hair from those traps is one of life's more fun jobs!

C&D - not over thinking, deeply thinking!  I'm willing to bet this was no plumber.

Busted Steve, but I don't remember sending you to the dog house.  That could be you, in your hero garb, walking off into the sunset!

Hella - I think you are right.  No plumber learned this in plumbing trade school!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Chris Ann - those are some hallowed halls too!  You wanted a thermal image sweep.  This hot weather would be a good time to do it!

Michael - love those accordion connectors!  But especially when they are so decorated..

William - that is a pretty good axiom!

That is some out of the box thinking Rob!  Not as deep as this guy perhaps, but really out of the box!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Wow, Jay!   Even a girl can figure out this one!  Why would a plumber do that?  Oh, maybe it wasn't a plumber.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Jay - Yes, I think Patricia is onto something...I think most plumbers would understand this.  Good catch.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 7 years ago

Morning Jay looks like Uncle Bob has struck again.  Not with Duct tape but an extension on a drain.  We need to find him and pick his brain for ideas.  Somewhere there needs to be a logical reason for him to do what he does.   

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 7 years ago

I'm doubting it was a plumber Pat!  But if so, I want his name to add to my do-not-call list!

Debbie - checking underneath I thought I might find a leak, but this was one dry installation!

And the lack of duct tape was distrubing James.  Uncle Bob is alive and well, working coast to coast!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

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