Inexpensive Search Drill Bit
Tightening Basket Strainers
Changing an Extrol Tank

Inexpensive Search Drill Bit

Whether installing a pipe, wire or a piece of duct, sometimes you’re not sure where the hole is going to land on the other side. Most bits are only 4 or 6 inches long. I use a wire coat hanger. You cut the straight part out, which usually gives you a 1/8-inch x 12-inch drill bit. Try to cut the one end with a slight angle. This has been one of my best “cheaper” tools.

It really comes in handy when running a vent through an attic with 8 inches of insulation. The bit will come right through the insulation. The guy in the attic who usually has to remove the insulation to find the smaller search bit will thank you. Cut off the tip after each use, and you have a brand new bit.

Now, go into your closet, throw your dress shirts to the ground, and stock up your toolbox.

David Mikelson
David Mikelson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling
West Chester, Pa.


I took a 1-inch diameter copper pipe that’s 12 inches long and soldered a 1-inch tee on one end and a 1-inch coupling on the other end. I cut slots in the coupling so that it would fit in basket strainers for kitchen sinks and tub overflows. The tee is used as the handle so you can tighten the baskets up.

Chris Esidore
Esidore Plumbing
Scotland, Conn.

Tough Job Made Easy

Often when changing an Extrol tank, it is solidly bound in place due to years of heating and corrosion. I take a basin wrench with a narrow grip and put it around the wrench flats on the Extrol tank and it digs in and makes a hard job quite easy.

William F. Patterson
Patterson Plumbing
Searsport, Maine

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 to PM editor Steve Smith at, or mail it to him c/o PM, 1050 IL Route 83, Suite 200, Bensenville, IL 60106.