Going fishing

When working in schools and commercial buildings with long wire and pipe runs, I use an old fishing pole and reel, a golf ball and a slingshot. I tape the fishing line to the golf ball, lift out a ceiling tile, open the bail on the fishing reel and shoot the golf ball with the slingshot down the hall. Lift up the tile, tie the line to the wire or pipe and reel in the golf ball.

William Cossette Jr.

Wiscasset Plumbing & Heating

Wiscasset, Maine

Easy patching

I carry around a small bucket of plaster of Paris with me. When I have to make a small patch or fill a hole, I take a small plastic bag (make sure it doesn’t have holes) and add some dry plaster of Paris mix. Add water a little at a time until it is the proper consistency; knead the mix through the bag. Use a small putty knife to patch the hole. When you’re done, you can throw out the bag.

You can use the same method to mix grout, cement or any dry mix. You also can use a large, black garbage bag to mix concrete to repair larger areas.

Greg Szumowski

Miller Place, N.Y.

Clean jobsite

Anyone in the service business knows that leaving a clean jobsite can be as important as the repair itself. Drop cloths are expensive and difficult to work on. A cheaper, better solution is to harvest cardboard from hot water heater boxes to use as a work surface. Cut off the top and bottom; keep the rest. Cut along one edge and end up with a four-sided accordion that can be easily stored.

Now you have a clean 10-ft. by 5-ft. stackable work surface. Cut it into strips for walkways. Stand it up against a wall that may possibly get splashed. Use a piece on counters to lay tools on as you’re working. When it gets dirty, recycle it. 

Tim O’Keefe

O’Keefe Plumbing & Heating

Sea Cliff, N.Y.

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.