Florida plumber uses heated auger to retrieve plastic toys.

Ryan Gomiela, co-owner of Gomiela Plumbing Services (GPS Plumbing) in Melbourne, Florida, hates pulling and resetting toilets.

When a customer called to say their daughter tossed toys down the bowl, Gomiela tried retrieving them with a closet auger, but without success. Pumping water out of the bowl, he heated the auger head with a torch, carefully put the auger in until it reached the toy, spun the head a few times and waited for the smell of burning plastic. After about 10 minutes, the toy was easily retrieved.

Posting on the Plumbers Alert Facebook page, Gomiela says his “hot tip” saves time and the customer money. Living in Florida, he’s never had a problem cracking the bowl.

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“I suppose if the bowl was freezing and you shoved a hot piece of metal in there you could have problems,” he says.

Family-owned GPS Plumbing focuses on residential and commercial service work, from water heaters to faucet repair. The company also specializes in slab leak detection and repair.

Mike Strode, owner of Baxter Plumbing & Rooter in Eugene, Oregon, says he’s used the same trick a few times himself, while Michael Villanueva of San Antonio, Texas, has gotten the same results using a wet-dry vac.

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A word of caution: Don’t try using a heated auger head to retrieve a plastic cigarette lighter. As Anthony Zelina says, it doesn’t work so well.

Wisconsin’s Carter Linneman says he tried using a heated auger to retrieve a rubber duck, but it would push through and come back out. He finally heated up a metal clothes hanger with a small loop hook on the end, melted through the duck, let the hanger cool and pulled the duck right out.

“Now I always have a couple old metal hangers in my truck, just in case,” he says.

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Do you have a “hot tip” or an especially unique or challenging plumbing job you would like to share? Email your photos or video with a description of your project to edw@colepublishing.com.

Check out Gomiela’s specialty tools video:

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