In December, the boiler was installed at my current build: a wall-hung, direct-vent propane boiler that supplies the hot water for both in-floor radiant heat and domestic use. It’s always a pleasure to see good work being done, and the two installers were doing just that. The working space was fairly small. The amount of tools and materials required, monumental. Remember when Harry Potter went camping with the Weasleys at the World Quidditch Championship? How the interior of the tents was magically enlarged? Installing the boiler was the opposite. They needed to turn a mountain into a molehill.

Accomplishing this feat of plumbing wizardry involved teamwork. One person in the 6'x6' utility room. The other set up a staging area of tools and materials just outside the room. Bits and pieces of the boiler were unwrapped and passed in as needed. The packaging was immediately sorted. One box for recyclables, another for trash. Fittings were sorted and arranged early in the game. This allowed the installers to tally what they had and call in an order for missing bits right at the start.

Tools in the staging area were beautifully organized, ready to be passed in as needed, and put away right after use. It felt like the game show “Let’s Make A Deal!” Monty Hall would call from the utility room, “Do you have a T10 bit on an extension?” Our contestant in the staging area would shout out “Yes!” grab it and pass it in. Every time they did this, I mentally jumped up and down while screaming.

Three tools, new to me, were used quite a bit. Gas lines were black iron pipe, cut to length with a battery-powered, handheld bandsaw. Almost silent and extremely fast. The black iron piping as well as the copper tubing were put together with press-on fittings. The fittings slide onto the pipe and a battery-powered, press-on tool goes over the fitting and compresses it. Copper tubing was all cut to length with another battery-operated tool, a tubing cutter. It, too, was fast and quiet. It could take a 1⁄4" off of 1-1⁄2" copper in six seconds. A recent hand injury made using a traditional tubing cutter impossible. Adding that tool to their kit was a great example of adaptability.