Repairing a broken PVC closet flange

When you run across a broken PVC closet flange, the easiest way to cut it out is to use a 4-inch hole saw. My biggest trick with it is to run the drill in reverse while cutting it out. Running the drill in reverse stops the teeth from cutting in too hard while drilling and catching the flange/pipe. If it catches hard while the drill is spinning fast, it can crack the pipe (or, worse, the fitting below).

This has proven to be the cleanest and easiest way to cut out the top of the flange. Depending on the type of flange installed and the depth of the fitting below, I’ll either use an inside cutter and a boring tool to bore out the pipe or I’ll put in an inside flange.

I hope this helps get some of you out of a bind!

Vernon Frost

Hamilton Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

Nottingham, Md.


Emptying a water heater

I have been replacing water heaters for years and I use my tiny electric compressor to blow out the water instead of using a pump. I hook up my hose normally, plug or cap the hot or cold side, then thread in my made-up adapter to the hot or cold side. Then, I turn the compressor on after I open the drain valve. You can actually send your hose out the window if you don’t have a drain source. But make sure you don’t remove the compressor hose until the tank is empty.

James P. Regan

Cams Jr. Plumbing and Heating

Paterson, N.J.


Drying out pipe for soldering

We carry a Bucket Head vacuum and just suck the water out. For small stand pipes, we carry a 2-foot piece of 1/4-inch plastic tubing to siphon the water out. 

Ray Cornelius

Ray’s Repair

Parker, Ariz


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.