Ideas That Work: Magnet, Duct Seal and Outdoor Solutions

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!

Nowhere to escape

Tired of losing your hex head bits from your side bag every time you put your tools down? Put a magnet at the bottom of the bag in which you keep your bits, and they will never sneak out of your pouch again.

Ruben Hernendez
Abilene, Texas

Sticking together

When working on an extension ladder, stick a wad of electrical duct seal on the run at your working height level, and stick your screws and wire nuts into the duct seal to hold them in place until you need them. No more digging through your pouch or pockets to find them. The duct seal can be removed and reused.

Ralph Johnson
Winsted, Conn.

Prepared for the elements

My company does a lot of outdoor work in New England, and this idea has proven to be very helpful. When installing or replacing electrical equipment, I coat all of my screws and connections with antioxidant joint compound. The coating makes screw and connection removal easier when needed. This has helped with repairs and replacements after prolonged exposure to New England weather conditions.

Bill Boone
Chicopee, Mass.

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, or use the online submission tool at

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 ( 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.

Stay Informed Join our Newsletter

Having trouble finding time to sit down with the latest issue of
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR? Don't worry, we'll come to you.