Every month, we pick the top four Ideas That Work submitted by you, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR readers. These ideas can't be found in any code or guidebook and are only learned or devised through years of experience and thinking, "There's got to be a better way to do this!" Please remember, the ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety standards have been fully adhered to. Now, without further ado, here are this issue's Ideas That Work!


Using the guardrails as guides
When hanging track lighting in a commercial setting using a scissor lift, standardize the required/requested distance from track to floor by using the guardrails on the lift. Simply measure from the floor to the top of the lift rails (adjusting the lift height as needed) to obtain the desired distance, place your track across the lift’s rails, measure and cut your support chain or cable, and then attach to your track. This method is fast and easy but assumes your floor and lift guard rails are level.

John Hemmings
Charleston, W.Va.

Box-height guide with wood
When setting boxes in a new build, cut pieces of wood or stud to the height of the bottom of the boxes to be fitted for outlets and switches. These can then be used to ensure that every box is mounted at an identical height. It saves measuring the height of every box and is easy to mount the box because it is resting on the top of your measure.

Allen Hammacott
Winter Haven, Fla.

Get a grip
When the handles of your hand tools wear out before the tools wear out, instead of buying replacement grips, wrap the handles with rubber splicing tape. The overlapping of the tape provides a nice rib effect for extra gripping. The rubber splicing tape also corrects the issue of silicone added into conductors for pulling ease, which made the handles of my linemen’s pliers extremely slick.

Evan Scholz
IBEW Local No. 1
St. Louis

Third hand on the ladder
Sometimes connecting a fixture in a ceiling box calls for a third hand. To solve that, I keep a 6-in.-long piece of 6/32 and 8/32 in my bag with one end bent to create about a 1-in., “L”-shaped handle. Then I can mount the fixture loosely secured from one hole, swing it to the side, wire it up, rotate back into place and set the second screw before removing my “third hand.”

Brian Lee
Van Nuys, Calif.


IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Jack Pullizzi, Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail itw@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH AND TOOL PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR. In addition, Southwire (www.southwiretools.com) will send the following set of electrician’s tools to each month’s first-place winner:

• Cable cutter
• Fish tape
• Long nose pliers
• Side cutting pliers
• Diagonal cutting pliers
• Pump pliers
• Screwdriver
• Wire stripper
• Crimpers
• Multimeter

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.

- See more at: http://www.ecmag.com/section/ideas-work-leaving-room-changes-fishing-wit...

IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Jack Pullizzi, Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail itw@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH AND TOOL PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR. In addition, Southwire (www.southwiretools.com) will send the following set of electrician’s tools to each month’s first-place winner:

• Cable cutter
• Fish tape
• Long nose pliers
• Side cutting pliers
• Diagonal cutting pliers
• Pump pliers
• Screwdriver
• Wire stripper
• Crimpers
• Multimeter

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.