Water / Ant / Earthquake / Sound Proof a Kitchen

mudwormMarch 27, 2011

I'm sure there are other things that worry me about the kitchen, but I can't remember for now, so let me just start with these potential adversaries. Since we are doing a kitchen remodel, I want to do as much forward thinking as I can. Below is a compilation of my concerns as well as some knowledge I picked up from GW. If anyone has any experience with any of these areas, I, and I'm sure some others, will appreciate your input.

Water Proof

So far, I read that the most likely sources of water damage (to the floor and/or cabinets) are leaking dishwasher (DW) and refrigerator (REF) ice maker due to defect or power outage. Since we are putting laminate floor down, I'm especially concerned. I was planning to leave the REF not hooked up with the water line since neither of us drinks ice water, but my DH vetoed it because he didn't want to explain to our guests why we don't have ice cold water despite the dispenser. Then, I was thinking out aloud if I could come up with a drip pan that can be put underneath the DW and REF to collect all the water in case of leakage. My DH said to me, "People ask, oh, why is your fridge wearing a diaper? 'We don't have it potty trained.' How old is the fridge? 'Five...'" That made me laugh, but I still don't have a solution.

My KD suggested me to lay down some water proof material in the sink base with a little edge up and cog the seams. I may look into that in case of plumbing leakage under the sink.

Oh, one EZ-level video mentions that they like to leave the cabs 1/8" off the floor (using their EZ-level legs) so that when there is water flowing on the floor, it will not damage the cabinets. Do you think that's a good idea?

Sound Proof

I'm hoping the Fisher Paykel dishwasher drawers we are going to buy will be quiet, but my main concern is in the refrigerator. Our office/desk area will be right next to it. After some deliberations, I think we will end up buying the IKEA NUTID S23 Counter Depth Fridge due to its current kitchen sale. It's made by Whirlpool and being at $1400 (original price), I do not expect it to be whisper quiet. We'll have it boxed in and I think we'll put sound absorbing material in the back and on both sides of the fridge (something I learned from GW). Our floor is laminate, but I wonder if I can put another layer down below the fridge to absorb the noise (and hopefully catch the leakage too).

Earthquake Proof

I got the impression that people bolt their base cabinets to the walls. But I'd think base cabs will not topple in an earthquake, right? I remember one EZ-Level video says they like to leave a gap (1/8"?) between the cabs and the wall for easy routing of some small pipes and cables. Does that mean some people don't fasten their base cabs to the wall at all? Is that okay?

Ant Proof

Currently, one or two times a year, ants make their way into the kitchen and make an unwelcoming scene. Are their any tips and tricks during a kitchen remodeling that can help effectively...

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i think there is wishful thinking here. Yhe stuff described above sounds like much of it is not doable. I'm a big proponent of doing things differently no matter how much extra work it will take, but not this time.

Can you return a Nutid fridge to Ikea if you find it's too noisy?

Do you really want to buy a fridge with a water line when you both say you don't drink ice water? Do you really want to build a fridge pan for future water leaks? Do you really want to have a hose or pipe going to the fridge? ((This is where a lot of leaks start: the hose to the fridge)).

"leave the cabs 1/8" off the floor " is, well, hmm... "when there is water flowing on the floor, it will not damage the cabinets." WOW.

..." base cabs will not topple in an earthquake" -- unless they are on legs.
Do you know if your base cabs are like that?

What does EZ LEvel say about ants?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:36AM
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I lived most of my life in an earthquake zone and never lost a dish. That said, if there is an earthquake, a big earthquake and you're near or on the epicenter, I think there is little you can do beyond having your entire home retrofitted to withstand a quake, and depending on the soil composition, that won't work anyway. The California Science Center has a great exhibit about this - the building is on springs. I can't see spending millions to do that to a house. If the cabinets are falling off the walls, you have bigger problems with which to contend.

Ants are easy - seal so they have no place to come inside. If they do come inside, 20 Mule Team Borax cuts the exoskeletons of jointed insects - works for fleas too. Comet works great too - ants won't cross the Comet line - you have to get the green kind.

I once had a refrigerator - a $500 Whirlpool - that had a water line that worked perfectly for six years. One day it leaked on my wood floors. I dried everything, replaced the line, and life continued without a problem.

I think you're worrying too much.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:54AM
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Hmmm... did I sense sarcasm? That's okay. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to kitchen remodeling and I'm sure most of my questions are pretty stupid. I just hope I learn something from whatever answers I receive.

> Can you return a Nutid fridge to Ikea if you find it's too noisy?

Good question. I should ask them. It'll be nice if I could. My impression is if you call for repair due to loud appliances, customer service usually rolls their eyes and try to ignore you. It's sure nice not to have to be stuck with a loud fridge right next to your desk.

All your questions regarding buying a fridge with a water line when we don't need it are valid. The only thing is the cheapest counter depth side by side fridge -- the only type we want -- is around $2500 (from a quick search on AJ Madison). I can get the IKEA one for $1200 (after discount). Not much of a choice in my mind. Will have to live with the dispenser.

"leave the cabs 1/8" off the floor " is, well, hmm... "when there is water flowing on the floor, it will not damage the cabinets." WOW.

This EZ Level video is not the same one I watched last time. But about 5'45" in, it does talk about using the level system to eliminate flood damage. I'm not sure that's such a bad idea, but then, I'm not sure.

..." base cabs will not topple in an earthquake" -- unless they are on legs.
Do you know if your base cabs are like that?

I'm a little confused. So do you agree not to fasten base cabs to the wall? I ask because I personally do not see any reason to do it, but it seems that everyone does it.

>What does EZ LEvel say about ants?

No. And as a matter of fact, having read this forum almost everyday for a couple of months, I haven't seen another discussion of it. Maybe it is really impossible? I just thought since we will have some walls opened up, we have the access. Maybe there is something we can do to some how stop the invasion of the little buggers.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:03AM
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ae2ga, I know... I probably do worry too much. Being type A, I can't help it. This will be my first kitchen remodel, and wanted to do it right.

Even though ants are easy, they sure eek me out. Once we rip out the current cabs, I'll be curious to see through what channel they have been coming in. Yeah, we should do a better job sealing. Maybe I should just throw down a few boxes of Borax before closing up the walls. I'll look up Comet too.

I think with appliances, much of it also depends on luck. Some very expensive appliances sometimes give people trouble too. Oh well, I have no control over that.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:14AM
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There are automatic water shutoff leak detectors.


And others. I don't know how well they work.

There are drip pans for clothes washers, they are common enough. Finding them in other widths is hard. Here is a 24'' one. I've known people (three) who had huge amounts of water damage to their homes from water leaks. In one case, it actually was the dishwasher. But in each case, it was far more water than the couple gallons that a any drip pan can catch - I mean like the fire department had to come and pump out their basement. I have heard some cases on KF where floods damaged kitchens, but I don't know if that was 1 gallon or 1,000.


The cabinets are not going anywhere in an earthquake. Dishes may dump out of the upper cabinets - this happened to some of my friends in some SoCal earthquakes. Get positive latches on the uppers if you are worried - or just figure that once every 20 years, you will replace some dishes. If you don't live in California or other region with frequent earthquakes, stop worrying. When the ''Big One'' comes in your city, you won't care about your dishes.

Noise - go to the Appliance Forum and find a long thread titled something like ''does anyone make a quiet refrigerator''. All kinds of people in various degrees of upset that they can hear the ice drop in their refrigerator. I guess none of them have kids, live in the city, have a snoring spouse, etc. Their experiences and recommendations to achieve silencitude appear contradictory and ineffectual. But when I need a good chuckle, I re-read that thread.

As for ants, we have an ant problem sometimes. I find that if you don't leave bread crumbs, Nutella smears, sugar spills, jelly blobs on your counter, you have few if any ant problems. Unfortunately, we do, or at least my kids do. It is often weather-dependent too. 1/8'' will make no difference, unless your cabinets are actually levitating, there will be a route for one of nature's most remarkable creatures.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 5:06AM
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A lot of people on the forum have installed products like this to stop leaks.

Here is a link that might be useful: FloodStops for DWs, sinks, etc.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Ha, guess my concern for water damage is not unfounded. I'll look into the floodsaver and the auto shutoff mechanisms. Wonder if they are effected (i.e. been tested by GW'ers).

John, oh yeah, I've read that Does a reasonably quiet refrigerator exist? thread. I think that might be where I learned about the sound proofing the fridge. And that's also where I learned that no matter what brand you get, you may get lucky or unlucky when it comes to fridge sound. Knowing my luck, I think I'd better sound proof the heck out of whatever fridge I end up buying.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 9:36AM
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I can't help you with the fridge, since your constraints (inexpensive CD side by side) make you have to have an external dispenser... but to protect against the other big source of kitchen leaks, get a DW with good leak protection. Asko and Bosch both have excellent leak protection. I think their systems are slightly different, but basically they both will (1) shut off immediately and drain if they sense the water pressure drop inside the DW (because leaks in the DW will make the pressure drop); and (2) shut off immediately if they sense the pressure drop in the hose or water line (if there's a leak in the hose or water line, it will make the pressure drop--so they shut off in order to stop drawing water through the line). So regardless of where the leak is, they will shut off and stop leaking.

Asko's hoses are actually two hoses in one--i.e., the real hose with the water in it is placed inside another hose, whose only purpose is to catch water if the real hose springs leak--this keeps the leak from actually getting out and touching anything in your house. Bosch may also have a double-hose system, I'm not sure.

Asko or Bosch might be a few hundred more than you were hoping to spend, but that's nothing compared to what it would cost you to fix the floor if there's a leak. Consider it the cost of an insurance policy.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:11AM
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Hi ideargirl2, thanks for bringing up other options. We could get Bosch pretty cheap through my DH's work. Unfortunately, I have my mind pretty much set on F&P dishdrawers. I feel that the big door that opens up flat on the floor in a traditional dishwasher will bother me. I like the drawer concept. That's a leap of faith from me.

We can also get the CD side by side fridge at a good price from Bosch for a 500 series (although still a few hundred more $'s expensive than IKEA NUTID). Since I have no guarantee that a Bosch fridge will be whisper quiet and I think it's impossible to return it if we purchase it through the employee purchase program (I still need to check on the return policy from IKEA), I figured we'll just take another leap of faith and give the IKEA NUTID/Whirlpool a try. By adding that appliance on top of our other purchases (a MW and a wall oven), we get 20% off of our $8K worth of cabinets from IKEA (not for the kitchen but for other rooms). Life is full of compromises, isn't it?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:32AM
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Use a copper line rather than a plastic/PVC one to your refrigerator. The latter can spontaneously crack and cause a leak (been there, done that).

Ants don't like cinnamon. I sprinkle that if I find a place where they're coming in and can't seal it well. Smells better than Comet, etc.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:29PM
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How about I sprinkle generously Borax between the studs with cinnamon on top before putting up the dry walls? I think I'll like it -- the smell.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:05PM
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