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!
Fishing with a wiper
I recently had to fish low-voltage telephone, alarm and thermostat wires, and my standard electrical fish tape was too large and stiff for this type of work. I took the 3/16-in.-by-18-in. stainless metal spine that runs the length of my old windshield wiper blade and drilled 5/64-in. holes at each end. This spine is stiff but flexible enough to fish these thin wires in small openings without having to make a large hole in drywall. This saves time and eliminates repair spackling for a quick and neat installation.
Cup of dust
Drilling into drywall ceilings can be dusty, and customers don’t like the mess. You can insert the bit through the bottom of a cardboard coffee cup. Drill your holes for toggle bolts, and dust will fall into the cup without the mess.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
To get even spacing of conduits on a rack, I make what I call a “pipe comb.” You can use a small piece of metal stud or a blank box cover. Drill holes in the metal for the pipe size needed at your desired spacing. Then, cut the stud in half to make two “combs.” Just place the comb over the pipes at the strap location to maintain consistent spacing. It is much quicker than reading a ruler or using a tape measure over and over again.
New Lenox, Ill.
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 [email protected], 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
• Wire stripper
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.