Clearing Oil Lines

We recently bought a new tool that is normally used to unplug 1 1/4- to 4-inch sewer lines with air pressured up to approximately 80 pounds of air. Recently, we had a no heat call and found that the oil line was clogged with debris. We didn't have the tool we would ordinarily use in this case so we improvised. We adapted the sewer line tool's 1/2-inch male iron pipe threads and screwed a female iron pipe by male flare fitting to hook up to the oil line.

We then filled it with approximately 60-70 pounds of air with our small air compressor and blew the oil line back to the tank. Needless to say, it worked perfectly.

Now we not only keep all types of fittings for plugged sewer lines, but all types of fittings to adapt to oil lines as well.

Shaun M. Campbell
Campbell Plumbing
Salem, N.J.

Nut Divers Vs. Screwdrivers

I am a master plumber and gas fitter, as well as an HVAC contractor. In the HVAC industry, every tech has a set of nut drivers, and most of them probably have the type with cushion grips. But I have yet to see them in a plumber's bag. Consider using them. I use mine every day, mostly for plumbing - 1/2 inch to bolt tanks to bowls; 9/16 inch to bolt bowls to floors; 7/16 inch for lav faucets; and 3/8 inch for the bolts on garbage disposals.

If you're a plumber, give them a shot. Nut drivers sure beat a screwdriver or basin wrench.

D.J. Sealy
Sealy Mechanical Services
Birmingham, Ala.

Oil Filter Wrench?

When installing kitchen sink strainers, have you ever had your pliers slip off the large basket strainer nut? Instead of cutting up your knuckles, here's a good tool that works better.

I use a common automotive oil filter wrench, the ones with jaws like pliers with good teeth. The wrench is the perfect size for basket strainer nuts under the sink, allowing you to tighten and not worry about slipping off the threads.

Matthew Morse
J&M Plumbing Co.
Coventry, R.I.

If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers. You can e-mail your idea directly to PM editor Steve Smith at, or mail it to him c/o PM, 1050 IL Route 83, Suite 200, Bensenville, IL 60106.

Our first-place winner will receive the following from Ridge Tool Co. The RIDGID® Prize Package consists of eight professional hand tools and has a $200 total value:

  • 14-inch and 18-inch HD RAPIDGRIP™ Self-Adjusting Wrenches for easy, one-hand operation.
  • One-Stop™ Wrench, a compound tool for installing compression couplings.
  • 10-inch Wide-Mouth Adjustable Wrench featuring tapered jaws for tight areas.
  • 10 1/2-inch Plumber's Tongue-and-Groove Pliers with extra-wide opening jaws.
  • No. 117 Midget Tubing Cutter for use in confined areas.
  • No. 151 Quick-Acting Tubing Cutter for smoother operation.
  • 6-in-1 Multi-Purpose Screwdriver with two Phillips heads, two flat heads and two nut drivers.

    Ridge Tool Company is the sponsor of Tool Tips and does not neccessarily endorse the readers' submissions.