Smartphone uses on the job

Have a smartphone? Why not put it to even more use. The next time you’re making like a contortionist, reaching to see the back side of a fitting or anything you can’t get your head behind ... use your phone. Also, I find pictures especially helpful when I go to write estimates.

Turn on your smartphone’s camera in front-facing mode and aim your camera where your head can’t be. You can then use your phone’s display as the perfect mirror. You also can use the front-facing camera to take pictures of hard-to-see items while in the field.

Use the camera’s zoom feature to see imperfections in valve seats, read the fine/etched writing stamped onto metal parts — there are all kinds of uses for your phone’s camera.

Paul Danner

Danner Plumbing & Restoration

Eagan, Minn.


Power snake holder

You can turn a 5-gal. bucket into a holder for a hand-held power snake. Simply cut two slots that are opposite each other into the top part of the bucket. One slot holds the front part of the snake, the other the trigger grip part of the snake. The middle part that spins, spins in the bucket. This greatly reduces the awkwardness of using a hand-held power snake.

Harry Feuerwerker

Thrifty Plumbing and Rooter Service Co.

Mentor, Ohio 


Cutting baseboard heating element

Winter 2015 in New Jersey proved disastrous for many homeowners. On one particular job, we were faced with removing 203 ft. of broken baseboard heating element. Instead of making every cut for removal with a mini-cutter — which would have been tedious work since element copper is very thin — the removal was a snap with the use of premium pruning shears purchased at the local landscaping store. We completed the job in no time at all!

Willy Hughes

The Polite Plumber

Ledgewood, N.J.