Thawing outside drain lines

During this past winter, we had a lot of cast-iron drain lines freeze up because the older homes have them installed on the outside of the house. A running toilet or dripping faucet will cause the drain to freeze solid.

An easy and safe way to thaw the pipe is to attach a garden hose to the hot side of the laundry tub or the drain of the water heater, and simply spray warm water up and down the cast-iron stack. Within five minutes, the drain will be flowing again.

Scot Barsony

Hutchinson Plumbing

Voorhees, N.J.

Recycled PVC

Instead of throwing short pieces of 3-in. and 4-in. PVC away, I cut them into nice and straight 3-in. pieces with my mitre saw. I use them in place of bricks to set under water heaters and furnaces. This saves money and recycles what would otherwise become trash. It also eliminates the need to carry heavy bricks around in my work van.

Michael Grisson

Braxton Plumbing

Waynesboro, Pa.

Scratch-proof hand truck

Instead of carpet, cardboard, towels, etc., to protect appliances when moving them, install insulated pipe covers on the vertical rails of a hand truck. They can be permanently secured with spray adhesive or held in place with electrical tape.

Al Erbrederis

DFC Heating & Cooling

Somonauk, Ill.

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 Kinetic Water Ram from General Pipe Cleaners with a retail value of $325. Read here for more details.