Problem: Seldom used water valves often stick shut because of inactivity. Is there a way to head off this problem?
Solution: Whenever closing any water valve with packing, put a dab of silicone grease on the stem. When the valve is closed, the grease is carried into the packing and keeps it from sticking to the stem. Snug-up the packing nut after opening.
Contributor: Les Lowman, Perkin Elmer Belfab, Daytona Beach, FL
Getting wire into conduit
Problem: Most electricians faced with getting wire inside regular flex conduit tape up the ends and try to push it through, usually with a helper tapping or shaking the conduit to help it along. Another approach is pushing a fish tape through the conduit, attaching the wires, and then pulling it back. Is there an easier approach?
Solution: Strip the wires about 1 in., bend the strands back like an umbrella or mushroom, and tape the group. The expanded head acts like a cushion and keeps the wires from catching on the uneven surface inside the conduit as they are pushed through.
Contributor: G. Bruce Dedmon, Electrician/ Maintenance Technician, Max Air, Fort Worth, TX
Removing permanent markings
Problem: The staff is meeting and compiling a “to do” list on an erasable board when you realize that you are accidentally using a permanent marker. You grab alcohol or some other abrasive liquid to remove the markings, but that leaves the affected area of the board rough and harder to keep erased and clean. What should you do instead?
Solution: Use an erasable marker and write over the area of the permanent mark, using a circular motion. The permanent marking absolves itself into the erasable marking and can then be removed with the board’s normal eraser without causing any damage to the surface.
Contributor: Daniel J. Hunt, Invensys Appliance Controls, Holland, MI