Time to Cheat

    Normally I’m not much of a cheater. I suppose that I used to try such things when I was little, but I got over it as I grew up. The last time it came up, I was playing a board game on vacation with one of my sister’s friends from Germany. I caught her cheating and when confronted she said, “Every game needs a cheat.” I was pretty surprised. That being said, we had to do a little cheating at the Old Hardware Store the other day, and it was OK.

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   This came up when a man came into the store needing a brass fitting to hook up the water supply for his new dishwasher. This happens fairly often as they have recently changed the connection on the dishwasher from a 3/8” pipe thread connection to a 3/4” garden hose type. Who knows why they did this, but it means that your old fitting will not work. There is a new fitting to make the connection, but of course, they don’t provide it with the dishwasher. I suppose because it coats about five bucks, they don’t want to add it to the cost of the machine.

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   This would probably be a good time to explain the usual way of running water to a dishwasher. Dishwashers are usually installed next to the kitchen sink and that is usually where the water supply is hooked up. There is a shutoff valve under the sink and its output size is 3/8” compression. From there either a 3/8” copper or plastic supply line or a 3/8” stainless braided hose runs up to the sink. The slick way to do this is with a 3-way valve that replaces the regular valve and has an extra 3/8” connection on the side to run to the dishwasher. These are also available, by the way, with a 1/4” connection to hook up an ice-maker for your fridge. A 3/8” supply line runs from there to the dishwasher adapter fitting.

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   The problem comes in when you have non-standard plumbing that someone has installed in the past, or when the shutoff valves don’t work or cannot be easily removed. This is where the “Cheater” part comes in. They make several different kinds of fittings to fix specific problems that you may have. One of the first problems is when the shut off valve doesn’t shut off. They make a special valve that has a female compression connection to piggyback on top of the existing valve and the line connects to the second valve, providing the shutoff.

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   Another “Cheater” is a special tee that has a female compression fitting that also screws onto the top of the shutoff valve. The side connection provides a place to connect your 3/8” dishwasher or 1/4” ice-maker line. Another use of this female compression type connection are special extension hoses that can be attached to the ends of your existing supply lines when they are just a little too short.

   None of these regular “Cheaters” could help the dishwasher fellow though, when he came back to the store and said that he had a 1/2” flexible copper line feeding his old dishwasher. There was no easy way to adapt that to his new 3/8” compression fitting that he had purchased. We scratched our heads for a while and came up with using a 1/2” compression to 3/8” compression adapter and a short piece of 3/8” copper tubing to tie it all together. It wasn’t an ideal solution, too many joints, but it at least got his dishwasher going too keep his wife happy. Like the saying goes, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” at the Old Hardware Store…