An easy out for broken shower arms

When I talk to plumbers and ask how they get the broken part of a shower arm out of the wall, they usually cut it out with a hacksaw blade or cut a hole in the wall and replace the drop ell. What we do at Thrasher Plumbing is use a No. 7 easy out screw extractor with 1/2-in. cut off the end — so it doesn’t bottom out in the fitting — and an 8-in. wrench.

This saves time and eliminates the frustration of trying to remove the threads with a hacksaw blade. It turns a one-hour job into a repair that takes a couple minutes.


Tom Thrasher

Thrasher Plumbing & Heating

Plainville, Mass.


Pumping out water heater sediment

Many water heater change-outs have the same problem — the drain valve is clogged with sediment. My solution is a $4 plastic kerosene suction hand pump. Simply screw the hot side nipple or fitting out and push the suction side of the hand pump in with a piece of 1/2-in. PEX to make it long enough to empty the heater. The PEX is the same outer diameter as the suction hose. Tape it together, push it in, and pump five or six times to get it started. In a few minutes, the water heater is empty and ready to move. 


Terry Cook

Gibsonville, N.C.


Toilet fill valve replacement

When replacing a toilet fill valve, it’s difficult to secure the bottom nut tight enough, especially with the flat washers today. Channel locks and vise grips slip off. An easy and fast solution is to take one of your larger water closet sockets and snug it up by hand. You also can use a round screwdriver through the two holes on the bottom. You don’t have to worry about the valve moving as the connector is fastened.


Vic Bulaich

Burko Services

Inglewood, Calif.


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