Tool Tips: Faucet o-ring removal, protecting pipe and removing wax
Easy removal of faucet stem o-ring
Insert a slender ice pick (whose point has been ground slightly blunt so as to not damage the o-ring) underneath an existing o-ring to be removed from a faucet stem. This allows room to thread a 10-in.-long, thin insulated copper wire — similar to telephone wire — under the old o-ring by 5 in.
Remove the ice pick. Now you have a 5-in. loop handle on the o-ring to aid removal. Hold both wire ends in one hand; pull the o-ring slightly away from and off the stem by circling the stem with the looped wire while pulling off. Use your other hand to hold the stem; place your thumb in the gap created by pulling on the o-ring.
Use some plumber’s grease on the o-ring to facilitate the removal process. Use the same wire to place the new o-ring on the faucet stem.
Another duct-tape use: protecting pipe
After more than 40 years in the plumbing field, my best tip is for insulating pipe from contact with hangers and other pipe, and for holding multiple sticks of pipe together. Most people in the field use duct tape or 10mil tape. I do, too, but I reverse it and apply it sticky-side out.
It will slide easily to where you need it, will stay there once positioned and when removed (such as when bundling pipe together), it leaves zero residue on areas that need to be soldered. When you reverse the tape, you can wrap the pipe in an open area, then slide it to point of contact.
Bradley J. Flynn Plumbing
Removing wax from tools
When using wax rings to set commodes, it’s easy to get wax all over your hands and tools. A simple tip is to rub newspaper over them. The ink on the paper helps remove the wax.
Jackie W. Lewis
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.