Tool Tips - March 2011
Making A 9/16-Inch Nut Driver
Thawing Out Frozen Wax Rings
New Use For Wet/Dry VacRecently I came across a situation that required more than a little know-how. It seemed that during a major remodeling of a commercial building, the bathroom was required to be enlarged for handicapped access. A block wall needed to be demolished to accomplish this.
Without regard to the open toilet flange, the demolition man had filled the flange with debris. Instead of having to jackhammer the whole floor to run new pipe, I discovered a new use for my wet/dry vac. Not only did it suck up the debris I could see, but using the hose like a snake in a twisting motion, I was able to get the entire length of the hose in the drain to remove all of the rubble.
When completed, I was able to dump a 5-gallon bucket of water into the opening with no backup. I believe this tip can save many tradesmen a lot of unnecessary excavation.
Making A 9/16-Inch Nut DriverWhenever I install a two-piece toilet, I always like to use nut drivers to assemble it. It makes for easy control of the tension on the tank bolts and closet bolts. However, many toilets now seem to come with 9/16-inch tank nuts. Ever tried to find a 9/16-inch nut driver? Let me save you the trouble - they do not exist.
So I bought a 9/16-inch-deep socket and a short extension. I took a 4-inch-long piece of 3/4-inch PEX, heated it and the 3/8-inch extension fit tightly into the PEX. I added a piece of 7/8-inch domestic water hose over that for gripping. Voila! A 9/16-inch nut driver.
Thawing Out Frozen Wax RingsWhen working in cold weather and you need to pull and reset a toilet, your wax rings are solid as a rock. You can bring them in and let them sit in a warm room to thaw out, but that can take too long.
Our solution: Take the wax ring out of the box (leave the paper on the wax so you don’t get wax all over), place the wax ring in a 1-gallon ziplock plastic bag. Zip the bag all the way and make sure to get as much air out as you can. Fill the bathroom sink with warm or hot water and put the bag in the water for 5-10 minutes to thaw out. You may have to turn the bag over once or twice to thaw the wax evenly. Then you can set the toilet with ease.
James Long, Joe Head
Copperhead Plumbing & Heating