Descaling manifolds

If your water has a lot of calcium and magnesium salts in it and it limes up the manifold of a tub faucet, turn off the water and pour muriatic acid down the inverted or fitting-rigged shower arm with both the faucet handles turned on — or just the side that has less output. It will clear that lime quickly and completely.

Bruce David Johnson

Licensed Master Plumber, self-employed

Austin, Texas


Installing a shower arm

When installing a shower arm in wall, instead of using a strap wrench, I have found it easier to use the handle of my Chan-nellock or screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver handle inside the shower arm and spin around until tight.

Tom Dumas

TC Plumbing

Pataskala, Ohio


Repairing a sabotaged toilet

A 75-year-old American Standard with a wall-hung tank wasn’t working. On the first flush, it would fill, but the deteriorated Korky flapper would not hold water. I replaced it. On the second flush, no water would fill. It had a new Fluidmaster PRO fill valve. I took the cover off and flushed. Water squirted 6 inches over the fill valve. I put the cover on, but no water would come through. I decided to remove the fill valve. Problem solved! Someone had put a penny over the fill valve water intake in the toi-let tank, probably for revenge for no maintenance man service! The penny almost fit, it would shift, allowing a little water to fill at times. In 45 years of plumbing, I have never seen such a crafty trickster as this!

Tim Christianson

Christianson Plumbing and Heating

Albert Lea, Minnesota


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