DIY cable counter

It never fails that a customer asks how far out the drain-cleaning cable was when the blockage was finally cleared. I mark my rodding cables every 10 ft. with bright-colored spray paint. On the 75-ft. cables, I spray two colors at 50 ft., then change to the second color for the remainder of the rod. For example, I spray yellow marks every 10 ft. from the end up to 50 ft., a yellow and orange mark at 50 ft., and orange marks every 10 ft. from 50 ft. to 75 ft.

This comes in handy when I know certain distances beforehand, such as it’s 30 ft. from the clean-out to the grease trap. The marks need to be touched up every now and then, but that’s a good excuse to pull the rods out of their spinners and drums for inspection and cleaning.

Pat Sullivan

McHenry County College

Crystal Lake, Ill.



Chain safety

When in a tight space or working alone on a soil stack demo job, on or off a ladder, the chain of a snap cutter can be a real pain. I have attached a 3-ft. piece of three-strand thermostat wire onto the end of my chain. This enables me to pass the wire behind the stack as I go up the ladder and then pull the chain around once I am in position.

It’s proven to be safe and convenient many times. It also aids in lowering the tool once the soil line is free.

Andrew Conley

Insogna’s Plumbing, HVAC and Duct Work

Springfield, Pa.


Ignitor change-out

When changing a hot surface ignitor, sometimes the top portion is correct but the plastic connector is an incorrect shape. Instead of cutting the two wires and splicing on the old plug with wire nuts, take a sippy straw from a juice box, slide it over the metal prongs inside both the old and new connectors (this will temporarily collapse the prongs that hold them in the connectors) and pull each wire out of the back of each connector.

Next, push the new wires back into the old plastic connector and then just plug the new ignitor in. It looks a lot cleaner.

Jim Cooper

Econo Air

Anaheim, Calif.


Send Us Your Tool Tips

 If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers.The first-place winner each month will receive a RIDGID Prize Package worth $200. Read here for more details.