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!


Ready to run

When running conduit underground, we prefer to use prefabricated, flat, high-density polyethylene, one-piece duct spacers. The cost is offset by the speed of assemblies and the ability to adjust conduit spacing for temperature separation in long runs. This allows us to connect the PVC and heat-bend to the exact trench directions. With support beams every 20 feet, we can build whole sections above the trench, lowering sections with straps for continuous assembly 40–60 feet at a time, depending on duct size and quantity. Less time is spent in the trench snapping together plastic erector set multipieces and stoop labor to set, glue and space when you will inevitably be ankle-deep in mud or shading.

Gene Casstevens
Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Depth markings

When digging trenches for an electrical installation, it is beneficial to mark shovels at different depths. For example, making marks at the common depths, such as 18 and 24 inches, is useful. These marks can be done with electrical tape or markers. This will save the time of constantly measuring to see if you are at the correct depth.

Tim Kornele
Alva, Okla.


Idea Igniter

This month, we are looking for innovative ways to install large electrical equipment. Setting large equipment can be difficult and dangerous. Getting switchgear and electrical equipment from the truck to the electric room has a unique set of challenges and requires good planning and logistics. Additionally, these projects require specialized equipment and creative ideas that are often site-specific. For example, we’re seeking ideas for rigging and moving of equipment, unique ways to use common job-site materials for rolling or leveraging, ideas for moving large equipment on an elevated pad, ideas to safely hang a transformer from the ceiling, and unique ways to get favorable delivery methods from your distributor or manufacturer. —Anton and Jesse Mikec


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 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.

PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS!

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.