What is the best way to find a handyman in SF to hook up my washer?
January 19, 2014 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I need to find someone in San Francisco to hook up my washing machine. Suggestions?

I was given a washer and dryer for free! It was the best day of my life until it turned into one of the worst when I failed to hook up the washer correctly and flooded the shop downstairs from my apartment. So paying the damages for that little bit of overconfidence has cost me as much as buying the machines new. But I'm still hopeful because the thing I hate most of all is doing the laundry at the laundromat, and these machines work and are already in situ.

Seems like a perfect job for a handyman, but I don't have one.

So, kind of a three-part question, I guess:

1) Are you in San Francisco and handy and can do this for a reasonable price?

2) Can you personally recommend someone who is in San Francisco and can do this for a reasonable price?

3) Can you suggest a better way than Craigslist to find someone competent who is in San Francisco and can do this for a reasonable price?

posted by trip and a half to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yelp has a number of handypeople listed, and because there are people there with a significant number of reviews, you can probably search around to find folks with enough real/informative reviews that they look like reputable individuals.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:33 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks, flt! Sadly, Yelp seems to hate me for some reason. I guess it should be a separate AskMe, but when I try to go to Yelp I get:

Sorry, you're not allowed to access this page.

Your IP address is: IP.XXX.XX.XXX

Please retry your request and contact Yelp if you continue experiencing issues.

This has been the case for over a year now, and despite searching, I haven't found out how to fix it.
posted by trip and a half at 3:50 PM on January 19, 2014

I've used taskrabbit for this in the past.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:38 PM on January 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just memailed you. The 49ers game is probably consuming everyone in SF, plumbers or otherwise!
posted by vickyverky at 4:50 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

my friends in SF use Taskrabbit for stuff like this.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:23 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks very much, everyone! vickyverky sent me a personal recommendation which I will try first, but Taskrabbit is an awesome alternative that one part of my brain knew about but did not occur to whatever part of my brain is trying to get this done. Thus, best answers all round!
posted by trip and a half at 6:12 PM on January 19, 2014

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Angie's List. It's not free, but if you own a house (which means that eventually you'll likely have to deal with electricians and plumbers and roofers and many other tradespersons), it can be a very worthwhile $50 or less per year to pay.
posted by WestCoaster at 8:42 PM on January 19, 2014

If you're in an apartment, don't you have a super? Surely he would be able to tell you how not to flood the space downstairs. You dont say whether it was incoming water or outgoing water, but an apartment that has washer/dryer hookups should be relatively straightforward.

I Am Not Your Mister Fix-it, but there are three ways that water could "escape" from a washing machine.

There should be two faucets in your hookup for Hot and Cold water. And there are two flexible water lines that would connect the faucets to the machine. If one or the other of those connections isnt right, you'd get a gusher onto the floor. If the lines arent long enough, you can get longer ones at any hardware store.

There should be a drain outlet on the back of the machine, that probably has a flexible plastic pipe coming out of it. And there should be a drain or a drainage outlet near the Hot and Cold faucets. The connection on the machine should be nice and secure, and you should shove the other end of the pipe as far down the drain as you can. You may need to buy another drainage line if the one that came with the machine doesnt reach.

OH, and all those lines should not have breaks in them that would leak. But they are easy and cheap to replace.

Finally, there could be a problem with the tub in the machine. If that has a crack that allows water to escape, you've got a big ole paperweight.

Also, (there's something after "finally"?) you should test the hookup with just a smidge of water to make sure its all holding together. You should not just slap it all together and try to start a load. (I'm not saying that you did that, but you can certainly minimize the amount of leakage. You generally start a load by pulling out the knob, and once a little water goes in, you can push the knob back in to stop the flow. Then set the machine to the last spin cycle and the water should drain out.

You might also want to make sure you know where the water cutoff valve is for the apartment. You shouldnt have to cut off the water to hook up a washer, but you never know.
posted by Billiken at 8:57 AM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, how the washer leaked is important, as that can mean the difference between "basic handyman fix" and "the washer is junk." What caused the leak?

Did the cold or hot water supply hose leak? May need to replace the hose(s) going into the washer. If the tap itself leaked, that's probably a job for a plumber or your super.

Did the cold or hot water supply hose come loose? Did the washer shake and "walk" away from the wall, pulling a water line loose? That's probably an easier fix, making sure the washer is properly installed and leveled, with the leveling feet at the minimum height necessary to accomplish this.

Did the drain back up and puke water all over the floor? There may be a blockage in the drain, perhaps in the wall, especially if no washer was hooked up before and the drain inlet was just open. Who knows what's down there? Handyman may be able to clear it with a drain snake, but if there's a hard clog in there, you may need a plumber, who at the least can run a camera down there to see what's up. Heck, the drain (in your wall) vent stack may be blocked and it's just enough to keep it from properly draining.

Did the drain hose slip out of the wall entry and just dump onto the floor? Did the drain hose split or leak? May need a new (or longer) drain hose. Simple handyman job. Rubber does fail with age, and it's possible the washer's drain hose has just sort of collapsed in on itself, and it backed up.

If everything appears to be properly connected, no leaks at the taps or hoses, drain appears to be okay, but there's water all over the floor, there's either a crack in the washer's tub, causing it to leak water directly onto the floor, or perhaps the fill float switch is bad, causing it to over-fill (and overflow) with water. The drain pump may be cracked or leaking. Either case is probably not worth repairing on a used, free washer.

You definitely want to learn the cause of the leak, and test a small load, before going forward. Billiken's advice about stopping the washer mid-cycle and switching to final spin/drain is spot-on.
posted by xedrik at 11:52 PM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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