Sealing tub overflow gaskets
Searching for the Buffalo box
Cleaning small copper fittings

Sealing tub overflow gaskets

Most of my work is service work/leak detection. Bathtub overflow gaskets dry up and cause leaks a lot. The overflow tube is a little loose sometimes and you need to be careful. Recently I discovered a great trip waste/overflow gasket trick.

Remove the old gasket carefully with a flat-blade screwdriver and razor knife. Use Miracle Seal or Duct Seal (butyl rubber composite) and feed it in around the opening, like putting on a wax ring. When you tighten down the faceplate, it really compresses the rubber, making a watertight gasket.

Jason Ravitz
Jason Ravitz Master Plumber
Shrewsbury, Mass.

Searching for the Buffalo box

Living in the North, all of our outside water service shutoffs need to be below the frost line. This means the valves are 5 ft. underground and we need 6 ft. to 8 ft. keys to access them. The access points are usually known as a Buffalo box (B-box), valve box or vault. They vary in diameter from 1 1/2 in. on up.

Sometimes we need to look down these chases to see why the key won’t reach the valve. On a sunny day a flashlight is almost useless. I use a 3 in. x 5 in. mirror that I picked up at the dollar store to reflect the sun down the hole to determine what the obstruction is. This trick has been around for ages, but it’s very handy.

Pat Sullivan
McHenry County College
Crystal Lake, Ill.  

Cleaning small copper fittings

We have all struggled with trying to clean small-sized copper fittings (1/8 in. and 1/4 in. inner diameter). My solution is to take a small piece of grit cloth (sandpaper) and roll this into a cylinder slightly smaller than the fitting size you are trying to clean.

Take your cordless drill and lightly tighten the grit cloth into the chuck and place into the fitting. By using the drill, it only takes a few seconds and you will have a nice clean fitting ready to solder.

Keith Summey
Summey Plumbing & Heating
Hendersonville, N.C.