One of the things I do while inspecting the kitchen is to run water at the sink and then turn on the garbage disposer. While this is not a functional test it will tell me whether it turns on and how noisy it is. You have to love the sound of a disposer digesting a spoon for example–or even a bottle cap.
At a recent inspection, the disposer came to life and spewed water all over the place–including on me. Since I had never heard of a combination shower/disposer I had to investigate further. What I found was that the disposal was brand new–as was the sink.
It was the sink that was the real problem–although that was only a problem because of the drain location. When the home was built it was customary to have the wall outlet for the drain higher than they are in modern construction. Even if the original, more shallow sink was still there, it is unlikely that the disposer would have drained properly–but who can really say.
Regardless, the new sink was a deeper sink and by the time the disposer was attached to it, the drain outlet in the wall was WAY too high. The result can be seen in the bluish overlay in the following picture.
All of the bluish color appropriately corresponds to the parts of the disposer and the drain that are filled with water–and stay full of water all the time. As you can see it is full right up to where it goes down the drain at the wall and is also full right up to the bottom of the sink.
It is little wonder the dang thing blasted water back out through the flaps when I turned it on. Satisfactory repairs will likely involve installing a new drain. The drain is the original 1938 galvanized drain pipe, so it is no big deal really–it is past its expected life anyway, and should be replaced.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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