For Want of a Washer

Tiny drip in the supply hose from a valve under our sink to our dishwasher yesterday. Unscrewed the connector, re-taped it with Teflon, and … the leak continued. Ah – must be the washer in the braided hose! Removed it again and dug at it with a razor blade until the old compressed one finally pulled free (in shreds). Off to Ace for a replacement. Dozens of types of plumbing washers in cute little bins, but — uh oh — none in the size I needed (3/8″). They had 1/2″ versions, but nothing a smidge smaller. Talked to the employees, who said they didn’t sell them, never had. One employee said that in six years of working in hardware, she’d had a ton of requests, but that they had never sold them – didn’t even think they were available. Though she wasn’t sure why.

So here’s where the day gets complicated. Rather than a 10-minute job and a .25-cent washer, it was starting to look like replacing the entire braided cable ($16). And that meant pulling the entire dishwasher… which meant pulling the baseboards out from under the kitchen cabinets. And that’s how simple jobs turn into all-day affairs.

Got it done before dinner, but the whole job took three hours (including trips to the hardware store), some bruised knuckles, a good dose of swearing, and a ton of disbelief. Why in the world would they not sell 3/8″ conical washers? Some arcane historical reason? A good (but opaque) reason? No profit in it (come on, the rubber washer industry is no profit center for anyone). Or did I just get totally bogus information? But our Ace has everything, and super-knowledgeable employees. I don’t get it.

Music: Funkadelic :: Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad

2 Replies to “For Want of a Washer”

  1. What a nightmare. I’ve seen gasket material for cutting your own, and have used this in the car before — any chance this could have worked for you here? using the old one as a template?

  2. Candace – No way. These things are A) tiny and B) very oddly shaped (from the side it looks like a small highway cone). You’d never get it right.

    Baald had a good suggestion: Shell out for the $16 replacement hose, then remove one of its washers and use that. A wasted hose, but would have been able to avoid removing the dishwasher. Trouble with that would be removing the washer from the new hose without damaging it – it’s a super tight fit and hard to access – using needle nose pliers or an exacto blade would compromise it.

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