Save money with a copper nipple tray

It amazes me how much good copper pipe my fellow plumbers waste by scrapping it. Basically, a piece of clean copper pipe does not become scrap until it is shorter than a make-up piece for that particular size of pipe.

I drill holes in scrap lumber we find on the jobsite and use it to make a copper nipple tray of sorts. I save hundreds of dollars a year (including the small investment of time) by having short copper pieces organized and available when I need them.

Half the time, the piece I need is already cut!

Andrew Lindsey

Pioneer Plumbing



Use a hot screwdriver to dislodge shower cartridge

Every so often, you run into a Moen shower one-handle cartridge that won’t come out because it has been in the valve so long. As we all know as plumbers, there are tools available to get the cartridge out, but every so often, you still can’t get it out.

The tool I have used this past year is a long flat-head screwdriver. I heat up the screwdriver until it’s scorching hot. Then, I push the screwdriver against the old cartridge and melt it. Finally, the cartridge will dislodge. I pull out the cartridge and use a scrubbing pad to clean the inside of the valve of valve grease.

After cleaning the valve, I install a new Moen cartridge and clip. It’s so simple.

Steve Staley
JD’s Plumbing Service
Northglenn, Colo.


Trade in shop rags for a shop vac

Keeping the customer happy is important, so I tell people that I’ll clean up after myself. I use a clean white hand towel to keep the area clean after using a small shop vac to pick up drips and to suck out traps, toilet tanks, and the bowl.

People hear me vacuuming at the end of a job and come to supervise — they look happier than when I used shop rags to wipe everything.

Joe Klapp

Dayton, Ohio


Send Us Your Tool Tips

If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers. The first-place winner each month will receive a Kinetic Water Ram from General Pipe Cleaners with a retail value of $325. Read here for more details.