Tuesday, November 10, 2009

diaper sprayer tutorial

it seems the new thing for me to learn these days is plumbing repairs. first the toilet in the upstairs bathroom was leaking. i discovered a huge puddle of water and it turned out that the connector that attaches the toilet supply line (the tube that runs from the water pipe in the wall to the toilet tank) was broken. for some reason this repair seemed awfully daunting at first, but it was simply a matter of picking up a new supply line ($6) from home depot, unscrewing the old one, and screwing the new one on.

my latest project was actually not a repair. i built myself a diaper sprayer! it was insanely easy, and i am so ridiculously proud of myself. we started tk on solids two weeks ago and her diapers have become a bit more solid as well. since she is in cloth diapers, we don't get to just throw away her mess and swooshing her soakers in the toilet bowl was just not working for me. a friend had suggested i could make my own very inexpensively. it cost me about $25 to make; apparently you can buy them for about twice the price and i'm thinking the only difference is that those might look a little more streamlined.

this one is from pottypail.com. it retails for $34 plus $6 s&h and you still have to do some assembly/installation. mine was cheaper and required minimal additional effort.

i actually did not use jaimey's instructions, i just could not understand them. sorry jaimey! the general idea is about the same though (i think) and there is a great video tutorial here. first, shut off the water at the main valve behind the toilet, and flush the toilet once or twice to drain the tank. then disconnect the supply line from the tank and the water pipe. you will need a flexible supply line to install your diaper sprayer; you might have to look for a toilet in your home that has a flexible line. i put ours in the upstairs bathroom closest to hannah's room.

you will need two 3/8" barb adapters; one 3/8" x 3/8" x 3/8" tee barb connector; five 1/4" - 5/8" hose clamps; one kitchen sprayer assembly; and one ball valve. the ball valve should be either 1/4" or 3/8", depending on the size of the threaded end (MIP) of the barb adapters. i got 1/4" because the 3/8" valve looked bulkier. also, you may want to measure your toilet supply line to be sure that you don't need a 1/2" tee barb connector, but apparently only about 5% of homes in america have 1/2" connectors.

you will also need a hacksaw or a small hand saw, a couple monkey wrenches or a set of crescent wrenches, a screwdriver for the hose clamps (usually flathead), and some teflon tape. you might also want a hook to hang the sprayer on the wall; i just used a large cup hook that i bent a bit more open with a pair of pliers. i thought about taking pictures while i was making this, but i was so excited to get it done that i just did it.

using a hacksaw, cut the supply line in half. cut the fitting end off the kitchen sprayer assembly as close as possible to the fitting (you want as much tubing as possible), and then cut the tubing again about six inches down from the spray nozzle. you will end up with a spray nozzle with a short bit of tubing attached, and a long piece of tubing with nothing on either end.

slide a loosened hose clamp onto one of the supply line pieces, then work one end of the tee barb into the hose. do the same for the other side of the supply line and tighten the clamps with the screwdriver.

wrap the threaded ends of the barb adapters with teflon tape, then slide a loosened hose clamp onto the tubing attached to the spray nozzle. work the barb end of one adapter into the tubing, then tighten the clamp. do the same for one end of the rest of the tubing, then slide a hose clamp onto the other end, work it onto the third end of the tee barb, and tighten the clamp.

screw one end of the ball valve onto one of the threaded ends of the barb adapters in the sprayer tubing and tighten with the wrenches. you will need two wrenches, one to hold the tubing and one to tighten the valve. do the same to connect the other end of the ball valve to the sprayer tubing.

now your assembly is complete and you just need to reinstall your jury-rigged supply line back onto the water line and the toilet tank.

turn the water back on a little and open the valve, then spray the sprayer. you will probably need to play with the valve to see how much water pressure you need to spray your diapers.

the purpose of the ball valve is to prevent constant water pressue on the kitchen sprayer. the sprayer is just plastic and i did not want anything in the sprayer to fail and cause a flood. when the red lever is sticking out, the valve is closed; i just line up the lever with the tubing to open the valve and "turn on" the sprayer.

you can see i just screwed that mug hook into the wall to hold the sprayer. apparently this is also good for rinsing kiddos while they are taking a bath, though the water is not heated so i don't see why you'd want to spray your kids with freezing cold water. personally i think this will also be awesome for spraying down the tub/shower when i'm cleaning it.

all total this project took me about twenty minutes from start to finish.

i know it isn't a huge thing, building and installing this sprayer, but if you would like to come to my house and marvel at my handiwork you're more than welcome to!!

update: i used it for the first time today and it works GREAT!! yay! also, i was thinking - this is a very easy thing to take with you if you move. just shut off the water to the toilet, take off the jury-rigged supply line/sprayer assembly, and reinstall a new (uncut) supply line. you could also easily install one in an apartment, just like you would your favorite showerhead.


Jaimey said...

Glad you found some that worked for you. I borrowed that blog from another friend...not sure I gave her credit now that I think about it... but maybe now I will steal/ link yours instead! :)

I bought mine from cotton babies before I found out that you could make one. :(

eireann said...

i kept trying to visualize yours and couldn't, and this was my thought: why not just stick the sprayer line directly onto the supply line. i googled around for directions and found a bunch that were for like your way, and a bunch that were for my way. i think it is just little details different, the concept seemed to be the same.

Jamie Marie said...

omigod you are a genius!! and handy, too!!

Kelly said...

I am totally impressed. You are my home improvement hero.