Replacing broken shower arms

Whenever I’m called to repair and replace a broken 1/2-inch chrome shower arm, I first remove the broken thread from the elbow in the wall with a reverse extractor that I have shortened a bit. After this, I replace the shower arm with a straight 1/2-inch chrome-plated brass nipple and a 1/2-inch chrome-plated brass street 45 degree fitting. This 1/2-inch nipple is a much heavier gauge than the original or typical 1/2-inch shower arm. If you ever look at a replacement shower arm, you can see the threads from the inside showing just how thin they are. Seeing as there are many new and heavy showerheads out there, this is a wise idea to prevent future leaks.

Bob Wachtel

Bob Wachtel Plumbing & Heating

Goshen, Connecticut


Installing a trip lever drain assembly

Whenever I install a complete trip lever bathtub drain assembly or a standing bath waste assembly, I perform a bit of preventive maintenance on the 1 1/2-inch threaded tubing that is screwed into the bath shoe (bathtub strainer housing). On the trip lever waste shoe, I replace the threaded tube with an 18-gauge piece instead and run a bead of solder around its thread after screwing it into the shoe. I do the same with the standing waste shoe, as well. Although it takes a little time to do this procedure, plus the extra cost of the heavier-gauge threaded tailpieces, I explain what I’ve done to the customer and they’re more than happy to pay the extra charge for the entire job. This avoids costly callbacks in the future because of leaks in the ceiling because of a broken thread from a very thin tailpiece.

Bob Wachtel


Installing snap ring on disposals

Take a basket strainer spacer and cut off the taper. File the edge smooth as the cut is sharp. Slip the snap ring over the spacer. Slide all components over disposal strainer, slide the snap ring off and it will pop right in the groove. I found it to be a lot easier than fighting with the snap ring.

Peter Mastrocinque

Mastrocinque Plumbing and Heating

Portsmouth, Rhode Island


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