Every month, we pick the top 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!

Rag time

To make life easier, cleaner and more productive, I keep a small rag in each of my containers for screws, wire nuts, washers, etc. When it comes time to find just the right piece, I spread out the rag and dump out the contents. To clean up, I simply pick up the rag and dump it all back into the container. Then I put the rag back in and I’m ready to move on.

Joe Lehman
Medina, Ohio


Sawdust, drywall/plaster dust and other debris can quickly clog a portable shop vacuum’s filter, affecting its performance. As a result, I would need to stop work and spend time carefully cleaning between the pleats without damaging the filter itself. I have found that placing pantyhose, which you can buy at a dollar store, over the vacuum’s main filter can create an excellent prefilter, catching the majority of the dust and debris. This reduces the chances of the main filter becoming clogged. Also, when in the field, the pantyhose can easily taken off, given a good shake to remove the dust and debris, and slid back over the main filter. This extends the life and performance of the vacuum’s filter and saves valuable time.

Bill Hertwig
Plymouth, Mass.

Idea Igniter

This month’s winners both responded to the Idea Igniter from the January issue. For this Idea Igniter, we are looking for innovative ideas for hanging and supporting conduit and racking systems. Electrical construction is known for conduit work. Many believe it should be field-coordinated, while others believe it should be prefabricated off-site. Regardless, conduit does not hang and attach itself. For example, how do you install hanger inserts or anchor systems? How do you cut and install strut and rod? Do you have any tips for coordinated space in corridors?

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.


Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. In addition, each month’s FIRST PLACE winner will receive a $100 gift certificate from Zoro, to be used at www.zoro.com.

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.