• Replacing radiator valves
  • Pedestal lavs
  • Installing pipe insulation

  • Radiator Valves

    I’ve got a tip that I use when replacing radiator valves. Since it is next to impossible to unscrew a spud from a radiator, most people use a “cut and peel” technique, which can cause damage to the threads. I’ve found that using a pipe wrench on the face of the spud, while keeping a spud extractor on the inside, provides a solid surface to wrench against and prevents crushing the spud. This is nice and fast and won’t cause your apprentice to wreck your Sawzall blades. Try laying the radiator down for even more leverage.

    Joseph Wood
    Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating Inc.
    Boston, Mass.

    Needed Support

    When installing a pedestal lavatory, making the drain and water connections can be difficult. My solution to the problem is to set the lav where it will be installed, mark your screw holes for brackets/fasteners, install the faucet-lav connectors/drain-pop/up fittings. Reset lav and partially secure lav/sink.

    Then using a scrap piece of 2x4, cut to the length of the pedestal lav base, you can remove the lav base and make all connections. Remove the 2x4 and re-install lav base;  secure all brackets/fasteners. Check for all leaks (as usual). Job done.

    William Blocher
    Blocher and Son Plumbing/Heating/AC/Electrical
    Silver Lake, Ind.

    Pipe Insulators

    Prior to my tool tip, I used to take a hammer and try and hit the pipe insulator into the hole I just drilled. The outcome was that the other side would pop out and I would damage the new pipe I just installed. I found that if you use a 8-inch or 10-inch crescent wrench and adjust it to the size of pipe you’re dealing with (meaning it’s a bit bigger then the pipe size and can slide around the pipe), you can place the crescent wrench against the pipe insulator and give the wrench one or two hits with the hammer and you’re done.

    This allows you a bigger area to hit and forces the pipe insulator into the stud evenly, saving quite a bit of time.

    Henry Schmitz
    Henry Schmitz Plumbing
    San Luis Obispo, Calif.