I got a late start on the plumbing tonight thanks to a great Fiesta Bowl. I didn't expect to be so caught up in it, but it was pretty great football from start to finish. At one point near the end, Joe asked who I was rooting for (a fair question, believe me) and I responded "I don't care who wins as long as there's more good football!" I was rooting TCU to pull out a last-minute touchdown not so they'd win, but so the game would go into overtime. The game was that good!
Or maybe I was just trying to avoid the inevitable underneath the sink.
Finally, I gathered all my new pipes and elbow pieces and whatnot and began an epic struggle to remove the duct tape wrapped around one pipe. Not to say this was old duct tape, but I think the receipt for it was chiseled on stone tablets. I put a nice gash in the pipe in the process--no worries, I'm replacing it--before I finally got down to the slip nut.
Here is where the friendly guy at Lowe's* let me down. When I told him I didn't have any of the tools I needed to do this job, he assured me that I would not need a wrench to attach the PVC component. "You need to hand-tighten those." But what about the galvanized piping I'm removing? His advice was that it's so old, I could probably tap it loose with a hammer or remove it by hand.
Guess what? I can't get the damned thing loose. So my next step is going to be to go at it with the hack saw. I had to take a breather before I did that, so I figured I'd post an update. I'm sure there's someone out there who wouldn't sleep comfortably tonight not knowing the status of my crappy pipe situation.
And as if I weren't in over my head enough, I'm also going to reposition the trap. It's currently separated from the drainpipe by about 10 inches of horizontal pipe, which is why the drain has never been terribly effective.
I figure, what's the worst that could happen? I spent about $30 bucks on supplies, I've learned a good bit already, and I was already planning on calling in a plumber. If I can't make it work, I'll graciously admit defeat and call the plumber. But there's no harm in trying, first. At least, there's been no harm so far, but I haven't used the hack saw yet.
Update: I used the saw and successfully removed the pipe and the trap came loose at the same time with no extra effort. Bonus!
But the bad news is that the pipe still attached to the sink drain has to come off. Why? Something about the little hole I put in it with my thumb tells me it needs to be replaced, too. (Who knew I had thumbs of steel?) But the slip nut attaching that one REALLY isn't coming off, and I can't just hack this one off. I took a 2am trip to Wal-Mart in search of the appropriate tool, and though online guides tell me to use groove-joint pliers and I dutifully bought two different sizes, neither worked. So I will be going back to Lowe's tonight to get something...anything...that will get this pipe loose. I'm also going to have to replace the clamp connecting the dishwasher drainage hose. I have a little bit of fear that when I remove this final pipe I'll end up having to replace the sink drain, and from there I envision a domino effect that in two weeks' time will see me in the attic replacing the insulation.
At the risk of making yet another ill-advised promise, I promise I will call a plumber before it gets that far.