Portable solar power
Unclogging drinking fountain drains
Uses of pot holders

Portable solar power

I always need 12 volt power in my van for extra lights, and 120 volt for a computer and printer. But I don’t want the van to not start if I leave something on. I purchased some portable power devices that not only have 12 volt DC, but 120 volt AC. Then I purchased some small solar panels that fit on the van’s dash and plug into the portable devices. They keep the portable power charged and, using some switchable power outlets, I turn power on only when needed.

Jim Mancuso
After Five Plumbing
Spartanburg, S.C.
Milford, Conn.

Unclogging drinking fountain drains

I have been working in public buildings and schools for more than 50 years in my plumbing business and have found drinking fountain drains to be nasty and very hard to unplug. I found an easy way to do this - I use my 1 gal., 1 hp shop vac with a 1 gal. plastic can cover. Make a small, snug hole in the plastic cover for the hose to fit in. Place the cover tightly over the drain and then cover with water. Turn the vacuum on and the drain almost instantly unclogs. This also works on floor drains and most any drain with no mess.

William J. Cossette Jr.
Wiscasset Plumbing and Heating
Wiscasset, Maine

The many uses of pot holders

Instead of throwing away old pot holders, I use them in my solder tray as padding for my torch tip. It prevents the torch from bouncing around and getting damaged. The ones for your hands, such as oven mitts, work great for holding hot fittings or pipe. When soldering, the simple square ones work as a catch mat for keeping hot solder or flux from falling onto the floor, preventing costly burns.

Rick Collins
PR Plumbing & Drain
Riverside, Calif.