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Plumbing tips for Apprentices

Chris Derrer - Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Here at HPS we really do like to see new, young tradespeople rise through the ranks in our world of plumbing. We’re also very glad that the number of trade apprentices has risen for the first time in quite a few years, it’s like we’re cool again!

We are aware that out there, there will be people that will give you all sorts of tips and advice, some may mislead you into making a mistake, be it minor or costly, but you’ll learn more from these mistakes than any textbook could ever teach, so don’t be disheartened. We’re also always here, to help you learn a couple of tips and tricks that may prove useful to make a job quicker or create less hassle and fuss. Let’s look at a few simple problems with quick and easy fixes to help out you apprentices.

Stuck Pipe? Heat it up…

If you have to remove an old threaded connection and it won’t budge, there’s a good chance that it has gone so rigid and stiff that you can’t physically remove it with your hand or even one of your trusty spanners… boo! However, there is a quick and easy fix out there… Heat. Yes, metal expands under heat which means the threaded connection becomes looser through changing shape slightly, then it’s all pretty straight forward. You might need to grab your blow torch for metal pipes, but some boiling water should work for the plastic pipes! Apply the heat until it is loosened and hey presto!

Fixing a clog in seconds… Literally

You don’t always have to snake out the drain, sometime you don’t even need a plunger… sometimes, all you need is a wet and dry vacuum! Apply the nozzle over the waste and turn it on, full suction and ‘thunk’ no more blockage. This isn’t an exact science, but can be a handy tip to try!

Sealing Pipe Threads? Plumber tape!

We don’t think that using duct tape to secure a wall or shower in place is a good idea but for simple pipe threads, it can do a job, even if just a temporary one. Tape is for pipe threads only. Don’t use it on compression or other connections. Be sure to wrap around 3 times (minimum) - Many plumbers will tell you that is the magic number.

Caulk… Not Putty

Putty seems fun… Looks like play-dough, it’s malleable, it’s sticky and it’s got a cool silly name. But what if I told you that not a lot of plumbers use putty… Why? Because Caulk exists. Putty has a habit of reacting with some types of plastic and damaging them, as well as drying out and getting completely stuck. Caulk is silicone based and is a longer lasting, higher durability sealant that will son become your best pal as you develop in your career.

Get on the dope!

You’ve heard of dope before right? No, not that kind… but pipe dope. Pipe dope is used on pipe thread to create a leakproof and pressure tight seal. So don’t be a dope, use dope.



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