Tool Tips: Mini spring clamps, create your own thermocouple clamp, swaging tool
Use a mini spring clamp for troubleshooting
While working on residential furnaces and air conditioners with door switches, I find it useful and cost-effective to carry a miniature spring clamp in my tool bag for diagnostic purposes. There are many options on the market utilizing magnets; however, most are not universal or claim to be and never quite work out in all situations. The mini clamp (less than $5 retail) is an easy addition to any tech’s tool bag with endless capabilities, and [it’s] guaranteed to hold until your troubleshooting is done. The other upside is that you can use it to clamp your thermocouple on a line-set or use it as a flashlight holder. What a multi-tool!
Create your own thermocouple clamps
Many of us have used the blue plastic thermocouple clamps to take pipe temperatures because they are reliable and have a good price point. Many of us have also had the plastic clamp break.
I admit I’ve tried to clamp them on pipes that were too large and broke them, but the last one broke in my tool bag. I could’ve dished out another $45 but decided instead to invest $12 in some Sugru to repurpose two wood clamps I haven’t used in ages.
Sugru is kind of like Play-Doh but dries to a strong yet flexible rubber. I carefully removed the thermocouples from the broken clamps and mounted them to the wood clamps with the Sugru. Route the wire as it works best for each wood clamp and let it set up overnight. Now I have two working temperature clamps that work on pipes from ¼ to 6 inches. Spending $12 saved me $78.
The Cooler Co.
Utilize a swaging tool on thawed copper pipes
When confronted with a copper pipe that froze and expanded, making it impossible to make a repair on the pipe, I found using a swaging tool and expanding the pipe a drop more makes a perfectly fast and neat repair without any aggravation.
Joey and Sons Plumbing
Brooklyn, New York