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.

Ray Bordelon

Apartment Services

Metairie, LA


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.

Brad Flynn

Bradley J. Flynn Plumbing

Concord, Calif.


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

Jack’s Plumbing

Grove, Okla.

Send Us Your Tool Tips

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