Removing plastic nuts on faucets

Plastic nuts on the underside of kitchen and bathroom faucets sometimes won’t turn off, or the ears break off. I take an old wood chisel and heat it up with my torch. I then slice through the nut with the hot tool. Once split, the nut will turn right off.

Terry McKeon

T.D. McKeon Plumbing & Heating

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania


Removing a Delta shower valve

Most contractors repairing older Delta shower valves have run into one or two that simply don’t want to come apart. Care must be taken not to twist the valve or the three copper tubes in the back can be ruined. Using pliers can egg the nut and using a strap wrench has limited success. One trick I came up with and have used a few times since is to use a 1-1/2-inch ProFlex coupling to put even pressure and grip all the way around the nut. The copper side fits perfectly around the valve nut, and a short piece of 1-1/2-inch PVC can be secured in the other side to use as a grip to then turn the nut loose. 

Austin Borrell

Craig’s Plumbing & Heating

Topton, Pennsylvania 


Draining a vertical pipe for soldering

While trying to solder 1/2-inch or larger valve on vertical pipe, if you have water leaking through to where you can’t solder the valve, use a 1/4-inch poly tubing and syphon water out of the pipe. This will give you enough time to solder the valve on.

Robert Brandow

C.J.R. Plumbing

Chandler, Arizona


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.