Use your digital camera
Make dull fittings shine
Air-testing with blow-up plugs

Practical uses for your digital camera

I carry a digital camera with me every where I go - it’s the type with the large screen on the back. Here are just some examples of what I use it for: instead of copying down serial and model numbers, I just take a photo of the plate; if I can’t see down inside a wall or over a ceiling, I take a photo; if something is too small to read, I take a photo and enlarge it using the screen on the camera; and I take several photos of jobs I look at so I can review them on my computer screen when figuring what parts are needed.

When I was doing new construction, I would take several digital photos of the plumbing to be concealed behind the wall. At the end of the job, I gave a CD copy to the property owner for future work or troubleshooting. Now that I work for a town, I have taken photos of all the equipment I maintain. I now have a photo library by building name - which includes the name plates and downloaded maintenance manuals - on a laptop that goes on every job with me.

Robert W. Leete
Central Maintenance
Town of Greenfield, Mass.

Make dull fittings shine

At today’s copper prices, it’s a good idea to clean up dull fittings that tend to accumulate in the bottom of fitting trays and bins. Take equal parts toilet bowl cleaner and water; mix in a 5-gallon plastic pail. Make a strainer from another pail, slightly smaller in diameter, with holes drilled in it. Place fittings in strainer, then immerse in larger pail for about five minutes. Rinse with water. The fittings come out looking like new.

Fred Poritz
Elkhorn, Wis.

Air-testing with blow-up plugs

Many people have trouble getting an air test with cell-core pipe. To eliminate this problem, always use rubber test caps and stay away from dollar plugs or blow-up plugs. If you have to use a blow-up plug in a cleanout or something similar, always apply glue to the end of the pipe. This will stop the air pressure from escaping through the foam inner layer of the pipe, which would cause your test to fail. This little trick can save a lot of time looking for leaks and allow you to get more done.

Todd Roddy
Precision Plumbing
Pikeville, Ky.