Seven Plumbing Tricks You Have To Know

Seven terrific tips and tricks from a long-time plumber

Water pouring from a leaky pipe | Construction Pro Tips

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How to solder a leaky pipe

If you need to solder a fitting while water from a leak is dripping out of the pipe, here’s an old plumber’s trick that’ll get you outta trouble. Grab a piece of white bread and shove it down as far as you can inside the pipe. The bread will stop the leak while you solder the fitting and will then (eventually) dissolve inside the pipe.

Some bread in a hand | Construction Pro Tips

Shoving bread down a pipe | Construction Pro Tips

Soldering a copper pipe | Construction Pro Tips

A valve that is leaking next to a toilet | Construction Pro Tips

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Stop a leaky shut-off valve

Have a shut-off valve (like the one above) that doesn’t stop leaking when you close it and you don’t feel like replacing it? Here’s a neat little plumbing trick that’ll fix your problem! Get yourself a 3/8” inline shut off valve and piggy back it onto the old one. Then reinstall your supply line- it’s that simple.

Leaky valve close up | Construction Pro Tips

Shut-off valve held in hand | Construction Pro Tips

Man holding the back of a pony tail | Construction Pro Tips

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A plumber's worst enemy

We all know that hair is the number one culprit for a clogged shower drain. Here’s an easy way to remove any hair clogs. Get yourself a zip tie and make some slits every inch or so using a sharp utility knife. This zip tie is now a tool that will make it super easy to remove all of the hair that’s stuck in your drain. Neat huh?

The inside of a bathtub (white) | Construction Pro Tips

Hair in a hand (gross) | Construction Pro Tips

Cutting grooves into a zip tie | Construction Pro Tips

Shoving a cut zip tie into a bathtub drain | Construction Pro Tips

Hair on the end of a zip tie | Construction Pro Tips

A drain, in the floor. | Construction Pro Tips

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Get rid of smelly floor drains

If you have a floor drain somewhere in a house that isn't used much and often smells like sewer gases, here’s a quick fix that anybody could do. Just grab some vegetable oil and pour a good amount of it in the drain. Unlike water, vegetable oil doesn’t evaporate so you should be good for a while if you use this trick.

Pouring vegetable oil into a floor drain | Construction Pro Tips

A shower head with poor water pressure | Construction Pro Tips

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Restore shower head water pressure

If your shower head has less pressure in it than it used to, here’s a simple fix that you could do using a house-hold ingredient that’ll restore the pressure. Grab a plastic bag, fill it with white distilled vinegar and place it over the shower head with an elastic to keep it on as such for about a day. The vinegar will dissolve any mineral deposits that formed inside the head, and should give you back your original pressure.

Holding a shower head above a sink | Construction Pro Tips

White distilled vinegar in a bag with a shower head | Construction Pro Tips

Pipe with a sticker on it | Construction Pro Tips

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Sticker removal trick

It's pretty annoying when you're soldering copper pipe and there's a big sticker right in the way. Instead of trying to remove the stubborn sticker by hand, heat it up till the paper burns off and then use some flux to remove any residual glue. Now that’s a headache saver!

Trying to peel off a sticker with your fingers | Construction Pro Tips

removing a sticker with a heat gun | Construction Pro Tips

Stickerless pipe | Construction Pro Tips

Nut won't go on the end of a rod | Construction Pro Tips

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Have you ever cut all thread rod and found you couldn't get a nut on the rod after the cut has been made? If you’re tired of having this happen to you, here's a solution. Run a nut onto the rod before cutting it and then, once you’re done, just unscrew the nut and it’ll automatically rethread the cut end.

A nut thread onto a rod | Construction Pro Tips

Sawing a rod with a nut already on | Construction Pro Tips

Got2learn

Julio has been a certified Canadian plumber for almost a decade and has learned a lot of plumbing techniques and tricks will serve you well. He has experience in both the commercial and residential worlds and covers a wide variety of subjects ranging from brazing to simply installing a toilet the proper way.

Julio creates about 3-4 videos a month. He tries to make his YouTube channel Got2learn both entertaining and instructional. If you think his videos are great (like hundreds of thousands of other folks do), head over to his YouTube channel and subscribe. 

Next, be sure to check out our post-plumbing job checklist.