• Creating a vacuum
  • Wet/dry vac uses
  • Removing stubborn bathtub valve stems

  • Creating A Vacuum

    There’s no need to pump oil out to remove a “broken/leaking/cracked/inoperable” valve on an oil tank. You can do it while all the oil remains in the tank. This tip saves nerves and headaches, oil messes and odors, as well as lots of time.

    To replace a defective shut-off valve, first remove vent pipe’s vent “cap” outside the building or home. Place a regular cap on temporarily. Remove fill fitting from fill pipe outside as well. Then, take the hose from a soot vacuum and place it over the fill pipe. Duct tape hose to fill pipe for a good, airtight seal and turn on the vacuum.

    The vacuum created will indeed hold that oil in suspension inside the tank while you can relax and remove the old valve without losing a lot of oil and making a stinking mess, or having to do it “on the fly” as oil pours out!

    In fact, you won’t really lose any oil at all. But do place an absorbent towel down first under valve on floor to catch any that might drip out.

    This is a huge timesaver - especially in an emergency.

    Edward Marakovits
    Northampton Oil and Heating
    Northampton, Pa.


    To save time and money, I have used my one-gallon wet/dry vac for many jobs. The one job I use it for the most is when I am working on replacing a toilet or changing parts in the toilet tank. I used to sponge out the water in the tank, now I just suck it out.

    I also use the vac to suck water out of copper pipe so I can sweat new fittings. Obviously, you can also use the vac to clean up your job when you are done.

    Robert Wiecenski
    Robert J. Wiecenski Plumbing
    Willington, Conn.  

    Creating Grip

    For removing stubborn bathtub valve stems in which the sides have been rounded off, I use a 15/16 16-point deep well socket. Grind two flat spots on each side of the socket for a crescent wrench to grip.

    Steven A. Mimbs
    Mimbs Plumbing
    Thomaston, Ga.

    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. You can e-mail your idea directly toPMeditor Steve Smith atsmiths@bnpmedia.com, or mail it to him c/o PM, 1050 IL Route 83, Suite 200, Bensenville, IL 60106.

    PM’s Tool Tips is sponsored by Ridge Tool Co. Reader tips chosen by our editors have a chance to win a RIDGID Tool Prize Package.