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Thread: Strange Big Box Store Advice

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member LOTW's Avatar
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    Default Strange Big Box Store Advice

    Over the weekend I went to the big box store that starts with a "L" to buy an AAV to hopefully improve an S trap situation under a sink. I ask the plumbing aisle clerk if they have any and he doesn't know what they are but says his manager will. He goes and talks to his manager and comes back with an electric booster fan for placement in a six inch furnace duct. I politely tell them that I don't think that will work and leave.

    So what's the strangest "assistance" or advice the big boxes have ever given you?

    Although the more I think about it, if I could have found a 6 inch to 1 1/2 inch rubber F-R-C- coupling and installed the fan in the coupling pointed down I could have had a very well vented sink.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    An AAV on an S-trap might make it worse...change it to an approved P-trap with a proper vent (then, maybe an AAV might help). An AAV may not be legal where you live, and if it can easily be properly vented, wouldn't be approved even if it was.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    With black pipe, if 10' of black pipe cost say $10, then a 6 inch nipple would cost $2. However, at many big box stores they will cut and thread for free.

    It's priceless to see the expression on their face when you say "I need a nipple 8 13/16" long ... and while you're at it, cut the rest into six inchers so I can return them at full price later".

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; 10' of black pipe cost say $10, then a 6 inch nipple would cost $2. However, at many big box stores they will cut and thread for free.

    And what would he be using black pipe for? I assume he already has a "P" trap but that it is in an "S" trap configuration, because there is no way to add an AAV to a true "S" trap. Usually, if they make the cut and thread free, it will only be the FIRST one, and after that the costs will eat up your refund. Besides, 12" nipples would be a better options. The aisle guys probably knew them by their brand name, Studor, etc. depending on which one they stock, not the device acronym, i.e., AAV. By the way, I have heard of people from Iowa wintering in Arizona, but where do you Winter? Iowa or Canada?
    Last edited by hj; 04-03-2012 at 06:09 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    And what would he be using black pipe for? ...
    Sorry for the confusion hj, but my reply had nothing to do with the original problem, or any particular problem, but rather the "So what's the strangest "assistance" or advice the big boxes have ever given you?" question. I think that was really the main point of the original post... With all the bogus bs advice they give out, sometimes it's fun to turn things around.

  6. #6
    Homeowner
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    I've never asked for advice from a box store. My question is why would you????? LOL

  7. #7

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    i once sent a helper to a big store... to get a pex stub out with nailing flange... he knew what he was after, but when he grabbed it the "plumbing department" guy tried to tell him they were "to put on the end of long pipes to stop them from making noise"......i assume he was thinking they were hammer arrestors.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I've never asked for advice from a box store. My question is why would you????? LOL
    Because they advertise that they have experts working there.


    I've had some pretty funny conversations with them myself when asking where to find things. Heck, all I want is the location of the parts. I "know" what to do with them.
    For years they sold shower valves that weren't code compliant.
    Last edited by Terry; 04-04-2012 at 08:19 AM.

  9. #9
    Homeowner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Because they advertise that they have experts working there.

    However, you and I know that if they were that good, they would be out there doing it at construction wages, not sales clerk wages. Sorry guys.
    Some of them are retired plumbers.......but just because a guy is retired doesn't mean he knew what he was doing while he was active. I still wouldn't ask them for advice.

    The tile setter I had fired today said he had been doing showers for 20 years......like that impresses me. I told him that I was sure that I had ripped out some of his showers that were leaking. the homeowners dont call the tile setter back when their shower leaks.....they call the plumber.

    He didn't like that too much while the homeowner was standing there with us.
    Last edited by Hackney plumbing; 04-03-2012 at 03:13 PM.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    To be fair, some of them are actually OK. I've met a very few who are quite helpful -- generally retired guys who are too beat up or just don't want to work hard any more.

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    Plumber plumdum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackney plumbing View Post
    Some of them are retired plumbers.......but just because a guy is retired doesn't mean he knew what he was doing while he was active. I still wouldn't ask them for advice.

    The tile setter I had fired today said he had been doing showers for 20 years......like that impresses me. I told him that I was sure that I had ripped out some of his showers that were leaking. the homeowners dont call the tile setter back when their shower leaks.....they call the plumber.

    He didn't like that too much while the homeowner was standing there with us.
    You fired the tile setter. Do you install the pans?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumdum View Post
    You fired the tile setter. Do you install the pans?
    Sure I will install a pan. I had him fired by the homeowner.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; I've never asked for advice from a box store.

    I do sometimes, such as, "where do I find the high pressure sodium bulbs?"
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    quote; I've never asked for advice from a box store.

    I do sometimes, such as, "where do I find the high pressure sodium bulbs?"
    They can't be too good for your blood pressure. My town installed weak LED lamp post fixtures last year that replaced the nice bright sodium ones. Now I can "almost" see my dog's crap to pick it up at night. I carry a flashlight around now to see well enough to clean up after him. I wonder what effect the dark streets will have on crime. Not picking up after your dog is a crime here, but the night-time dog walkers don't give a crap (their dogs do though)
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member LOTW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    quote; By the way, I have heard of people from Iowa wintering in Arizona, but where do you Winter? Iowa or Canada?
    Iowa. I buy as much stuff as I can in Iowa and haul it up because there is no "big box" type store within a considerable distance in Canada and Canadian prices are high. And as I write this the ice is starting to melt (the cabin is on an island) and my first trip there may be several weeks earlier than usual so I am getting stuff organized.

    The grand plumbing plan, by the way, involves adding a dishwasher and while I am at it I will cut off the sink's S trap and replace it with a riser, sanitary tee, and an AAV on the top. If it doesn't work I will simply take it out and replace the original S trap. I can't vent through the roof without doing a great deal of work.

    The aisle clerk that I talked to was very sincere and he was certainly smart enough to know what he didn't know, which is something I respect in people. I thought his manager, however, could have done better. Mainly I found the situation amusing and wanted to see what others had experienced.

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