• Homemade stud finder
  • Stub out help
  • Digging up traps

  • What Da?

    Have you ever tried to get into a wall to investigate a plumbing problem, and you realize that your stud finder is out of batteries … or you don’t own one … or since it’s been in the toolbox forever, it’s broken … or you don’t even know if you really would get a true reading?

    Well, here’s my solution: Use a steel wool pad. What!?! I know it sounds kind of crazy, but if you grab two pieces of the pad and rub them together close to the wall, the magnetic field on the screws will attract small bits of the metal wool.

    Try it. It really works.

    Rafael Quintana
    Continental Plumbing Systems
    Houston, Texas

    Sticking Out

    This tip is more for new construction plumbers. When you stub out your water and sewer line mains from the building, use a piece of PVC pipe to mark the end of your stub outs.

    Stand the pipe up at the end of your mains and cover your ditches, making sure the pipe is about 3 feet out of the ground. Then write on the pipe what it is marking (4-inch sewer main below). When it comes time to make your final connections later, you can easily find the ends of your mains.

    I used to use 2x4s, but they would get removed or run over. With the pipe sticking up, others on the job think it’s part of the plumbing system and take care not to disturb the pipe.

    Buddy Rabon Jr.
    Buddy Rabon Plumbing
    Aynor, S.C.

    Digging In

    Digging up traps for various fixtures in slab-on-grade construction can be a struggle at times. With limited space to use a large shovel, but the need to get the job done quicker than using your hands, there clearly has to be a tool for this job.

    I have found that using a collapsible steel camping shovel proves to be the most effective way to dig in tight spaces. It is compact enough to fit inside your tub box and the collapsible design allows you to pick into hard soil or change the angle of the head to scoop out sand or gravel. The best thing about it: It folds up small enough to fit your toolbox. Don’t forget the kneepads.

    Steve Stumbris
    Masterson Plumbing
    Portage, Wis.

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