Tool Tips - August 2009
Injury AvoidanceA daily chore for plumbers doing home repairs is changing out bib screws and washers. The head of the bib screw usually breaks off and you have to dig out the old washer with a knife or a small screwdriver. Checking the hands on any plumber shows proof that this is the famous “accident waiting to happen” scenario. Even with the stem in a vise, it’s still not easy and without risk of injury.
We solved this by using a small dremmel tool with a ceramic tile bit. We run the bit through the washer in a circle around the screw. When the cut is complete (after about five seconds), the washer will fall out and you can grab the screw with pliers to remove it safely and easily.
Harrison City, Pa.
Easy Water Heater DrainingEver had a stubborn water heater that won’t drain because it is so full of sediment and calcium? I simply pump the water out of the top of the tank with a 1/2-inch PEX line attached to an inline pump with hose connectors. The hot nipple is removed and the PEX line is lowered into the top of the tank. Turn the pump on and the water is removed in no time.
The inline pump can also be used to drain unclogged water heaters or clogged boiler drains. Attach the inlet side of the pump to the boiler drain with a washing machine hose. A garden hose is then attached to the outlet side of the pump and run outside.
Christianson Plumbing Service
Round Rock, Texas
A Gasket By Any Other NameHave you had a leaking trip waste on an old tub or a tub that was re-fitted with a new liner, but when you install a new one, the telescope gasket never seems to fit the angle no matter how you spin it? Try using a tank-to-bowl kit gasket; it’s the same size as the telescope. You can trim it with a sheet rock knife for any custom angle. Also very good on steel tub installations as it prevents chipping and warping of the cover plate, unlike the hard rubber one that requires you to crank down for a watertight seal.