There isn't just one way
no one way to hook up your washer, drier, gas range or
refrigerator with built-in ice maker.
would think by now that the makers of these appliances would have
agreed on a unit of standardization. This is America, after all. OPEC
can get together in Austria once a year and agree on oil prices. Obi
Wan Kenobi can live with the fact that he trained Luke Skywalker to
fight Darth Vader, his own father.
whatís the problem here?
knows. But Mike Frentz knows that heís getting two, three, sometimes
even four or five people in Frentz and Sons every day looking a little
dazed. These people had made the natural assumption that they were
going to, for example, disconnect an old drier, move it, push the new
drier into place and reconnect it with the same fittings. Ten minutes,
unnatural assumption. But when they try to reconnect, nothing fits.
Itís as if one part had never been near the other before.
things through first
This is where the professionals split off from the rest of us, who
duct tape everything together, and then use even more duct tape to
seal the whole damn thing to the wall just for good measure, and go
looking for a beer.
professionals know something we donít -- methodology. They do not
just rip and hope to reassemble. Mike says they pull the drier out a
little bit from the wall and stop, and observe, and ultimately see the
answer, to which the rest of us remain blind.
isnít saying why the answer is the answer. It just is. Itís
one of those things one just accepts on faith, or one gets used to
drying clothing on the line.
vs. old appliances
The answer is that newer appliances have different adapters and flair
nuts than older appliances. The answer also is that adapters and flair
nuts, the little pieces of metal used to secure lines to appliances,
also vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer -- new or not. So
you can begin to see the edges of the problem here.
The most common
hook-up for a gas dryer. The 3/8" black pipe
(left) coming out of the back of the dryer needs a flair
adapter (center) installed on it so you can attach the
3/8" flaired copper tube and flair nut (right).
say youíre moving and youíre taking your washer and drier with
you. Do you know what the adapter on the lines look like? Chances are
you donít, which is why, when you disconnect the washer and drier,
you only take the flair nut -- the first fitting that can be
disconnected. So you get to your new house and try to reconnect to the
adapter someone else probably left right where you left yours -- and
it doesnít fit.
Here are various
sizes of flair caps, pipe caps and pipe plugs
to seal off gas lines running to household appliances.
doesnít just happen with washers and dryers. Gas ranges are even
more fun, usually way more fun than a man should have, because they
not only require some sort of adapter and flair nut, but at some point
youíll have to cap off the line, so the gas doesnít leak. Aluminum
foil and a rubber band wonít cut it for this job.
Flair nuts and
flair adapters of different sizes like these
are used to connect gas appliances.
But all these jobs have a few things in common that can make them
much, much easier. Weíll get into the more difficult concepts in the
next column, but for now:
smart and do what the pros do. They donít touch a thing, maybe a cup
of coffee, but thatís about it. They look at the way the parts of
put together and take notice of which one goes where. Before they
disassemble anything, they might even take a Polaroid picture of the
link-up, so theyíll have a blueprint of sorts.
of Mikeís customers videotape the plumbing under a sink so they can
bring the camera in and show Mike what it used to look like before
they disassembled it. If youíre going to go this route, part size is
important. Put a pencil, a dollar bill, or something else of
recognizable size in the picture to give Mike an idea of the spatial
dimensions heís working with.