A handy tool for tightening circulator flanges

Nothing can be more frustrating than tightening circulator flanges on pipe with wrenches. I fabricated myself a handy tool for just this purpose. I took a piece of shallow slotted strut about 18” long. I inserted a couple of 3/8” x 2” grade 5 or better bolts in the slot using flat washers, lock washers, and nuts. The slots allow you to fine tune the 3/8” bolts to match the on center dimensions for the bolt holes on the flanges.

Depending on the strut manufacturer, you may have to grind one end of the slot slightly to line up with the bolt patterns on some manufacturers. Tack welding one of the 3/8” bolts makes adjustment quicker. Dress up the raw ends of the strut slightly with a small grinder and you have a handy tool. The 18” length fits easily in a tool box, and the materials are cheap enough to remake the tool if you should misplace it.

Bud Davis

C.W. Davis

Albany, N.Y.


A new use for a nipple extractor

The one adapted tool I have used over and over again is the nipple extractor for ½” IPS pipe. After shortening it about 1-3/8” so it doesn’t bottom out in the fitting, slightly grind down the tip. It serves well in removing broken threads (i.e. inside the wall on shower arms) or broken hose bibbs. For reaching deeper in a wall, an extension on a sprocket wrench does the trick.

It’s truly a must-have item on any plumbing truck. “Always remember that the more skills you have in your tool bag, the better you can serve your customers.”

Gene Lodes


Eureka, Calif.


Double the life cycle of a jetter hose

Jetter hoses are very expensive. When the end that’s getting used all the time is getting worn out or kinked, reverse the hose and put that worn side on the reel and the reel end as the leader. This will double the life of your hose.

Jason Sturm

Sturm Plumbing

Harrison City, Pa.


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.