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Welcome to another edition of Saturday Morning Home Repair Blogging, where professionals, amateurs, and outright bullshitters all get together to shoot the breeze, get advice, and mock former homeowners.  If you have a questions about your home and how to fix it, you can probably get an answer here.  There's even a pretty good chance it's the RIGHT answer, too!

My tale of woe is just beyond the orange curlicue.  

See, I learned the hard way to diagnose the problem fully before going and buying a replacement part.  Two weeks ago, the garbage disposal started making ominous rattling noises, accompanied by the smell of hot electrical equipment.  My wife had accidentally dropped a date pit down there, so I rationally assumed that was the problem.  Plus, the beast was several years old and I assumed it would be at the end of its life.  So, it was off to the hardware store to get a new one.  And what do we do when we assume?

The project started last Saturday at about 9:00.  I had the new unit in hand and a hard deadline of 1:00, when a houseguest was due to show up.  No problem, right?  You whip the old one off the sink, hang the new one, wire it all up, and Bob's your uncle.  I had a minor moment of panic when the drain to the sink was half an inch too short, but I managed to shift the junction to the other sink's drain over far enough so that everything fit.  It was all going according to plan, and the unit was all installed, just ready to be switched on in a moment of triumph.  I was going to be a hero.I pushed the button, and ....  nothing.  Gaaaah!

After some poking around, I noticed that one of the highly convenient and not to code pieces of the wiring had come loose, and my wires were now an inch too short because of the layout of the new disposal.  We have the disposal wired up in a slightly goofy way, with a master switch inside the cabinet below the sink, and a momentary contact push button that comes through the front of the cabinetry.  When you want the disposal on, you push the button, and it turns off when you let go.  You can always open up the cabinet and turn if off at the switch if you need to.  

OK, no problem.  We just get a new piece of wire and hook it all up.  Come to find out, we don't have a 3' piece of 2-wire + ground Romex anywhere in the house.  I have some 3-wire, but that switch box is awfully crowded already without adding another wire.  So I trundle off to the hardware store down the road, pick up a 25' spool, and trundle home.  Wiring goes smoothly, with a minimum of fuss, and everything works just fine when I get it all together.  It's 12:30 now, and just enough time to clean up before the guest arrives.  Three and a half hours for a job that I thought would take 2 hours.  Not bad!

Fast forward two days.  I push the button on the switch, and get a puff of smoke.  It was the switch the whole time! Then we notice a big puddle of water under the sink.  Turns out I didn't tighten the disposal enough against the sink.  That's not hard to fix, but I have to re-excavate the wiring this weekend after getting a new switch that's rated for the load on the disposal.  

Moral of the story: find out what's really wrong before you start.  It would have been a lot easier and cheaper just to replace the switch.  

So, what are you working on today?

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