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Tricks of the trade with PVC plumbing

1. Cutting PVC Pipe: Hacksaw blades of 12 teeth per inch are best, particularly if the pipe is wet. Finer blades will clog the teeth with soggy PVC particles preventing cutting. Blades of 10 inches in length are better than 12 to 18 inches because they wobble less when cutting. Use a fresh, sharp blade. It’s just easier to replace the blade than hack away with a dull blade.

2. You will drip glue on yourself or your work area, no matter how careful you are. Bring a supply of clean, dry rags to keep yourself and your customer’s equipment area clean.

3. Use adequate glue in your joints. It is easier to wipe off excess glue than discover a portion of the joint that has no glue and that leaks.

4. Make threaded connections before glued connections. That way if you crack a threaded connection while tightening, it can be easily removed.

5. In cold weather, hold each glued joint together for a little longer than you might otherwise. More time is required to obtain a pressuretight joint in colder temperatures.

6. Try to make as many joints that do not require an exact angle, or which are not attached to the equipment or existing plumbing, first. If you make a mistake, these free joints can be easily redone. Do the hard ones – the ones that cannot be redone without cutting out the whole thing and starting over – last.

7. Bring extra pipe and fittings to every job. Bring extras of the types you expect to use, as well as the types you don’t expect to use, because you never know. It is terribly frustrating to finish work short one little fitting, or having to cut out a mistake and not have the spare parts you need. The nearest hardware store or warehouse is often miles away. Bring extra sandpaper, glue, and rags too.

8. Practice working with PVC in your shop, testing your work for leaks before attempting work at a tight equipment pad.

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