Tool Tips - March 2012
Radiator bleeder vent cleaning
Clearing clogs in back-to-back fixturesMy tool tip involves clearing a main sewer line stoppage with no accessible clean-outs. Some drain-clearing calls can be challenging at times, especially when you have toilet fixtures that are connected back-to-back or side-by-side. Removing one toilet to gain access to the line could be difficult because if your snake doesn’t make it downstream, you risk coming out the other side and possibly breaking the toilet.
Take your minicamera and run it down the closet bend until you can see the fittings that connect both toilets together. Make sure the power is off on your snake, then make a bend on the end of it and push it down the closet bend. With your camera showing you the direction of the downstream, guide the cable in that direction and apply a little pressure. Pull the camera out from the closet bend and you can safely turn the power on the snake. This procedure also can be helpful on small lines.
Castor Plumbing & Rooter
El Monte, Calif.
Bad vibrationsTo prevent vibration and scratching while using a reciprocating saw, I take a piece of ordinary 3/4-in. foam pipe insulation and cut it to about 4 in. Once my recip saw blade is attached, I open the split side of the pipe insulation and penetrate the inside wall (opposite of the split side). Then I slide the pipe insulation down the blade and cover the saw shoe.
The split will naturally squeeze the shoe shaft, holding it in place. The insulation will be between the shoe and cutting surface, eliminating potential scratches, markings or vibration on finished surfaces.
Santa Maria, Calif.
Radiator bleeder vent cleaningA lot of the old radiator bleeder vents are painted shut. We use 5/64-in. or 3/32-in. drill bits between our fingers, moving them back and forth until the vent is clean. It works great and saves time.
John Weidman & Sons