Every month, Jack Pullizzi picks 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!


Guide for boxes
After marking all the studs for receptacles and switches, I screw a ⅜-in. one-hole BX strap to a piece of 1-by-2 lumber at the level of rough-in for my receptacle boxes. I cut the length of the 1-by-2 for the height of the switch boxes. With the cap off, I go around with a Sharpie and mark the height of all my devices without once bending over. It is faster and much more accurate. After I have marked my devices, I relocate the marker to a point to comfortably drill all of my holes. Now all of the holes are aligned, thereby making cable pulling easier and more time efficient.

Jeff Glanstein
Woodbourne, N.Y.

Marking rechargeable batteries
Mark each interchangeable cordless tool battery with a distinctive mark (I use indelible letters). It helps in keeping track of which ones have been charged and which ones may be depleted, especially when switching among different tools.

Victor Rotramel
Lubbock, Texas

Associating boxes with circuits
When installing new wiring and outlet boxes, marking the circuit number inside the outlet box makes it easier to turn off the circuit and/or to make a directory.

Barry Yeslow
Huntington Valley, Penn.

Dust control for cutting concrete
I was working on a project that required several short concrete floor cuts for conduits and floor boxes. Each time we cut, for dust control, we had to climb to the ceiling, hang plastic sheeting and move the whole setup every few hours. I was in a golf tournament when it dawned on me: pop-up portable canopies. They don’t take up much room on the truck, pop up in seconds and seal with one wrap around with clear plastic and spring clips. Add a shop vac for negative air pressure, and cleanup is a snap.

Gene Casstevens
Sherman Oaks, 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 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, email IdeasThatWork@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH PRIZE FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in “Ideas That Work” receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR.

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 magazine 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.