Practice Tips #6: Syringes


Installing a syringe can be accomplished in minutes by anyone using just a few simple tools. You will need a syringe (of course), a sharp scissors or diagonal (wire) cutter, and a sleeve tool. If you don’t have a sleeve tool, you can also use a slip-joint pliers. You may also need a sharp knife.

Shockingly, the larger full-service companies get away with charging $100 for the syringe and an additional $100 for the installation, which can be accomplished in just minutes. While these fees won't "break the bank" per se, it's an example of how overhead costs can add up quickly.


  1. Turn your unit off with the master toggle on the front of the unit.
  2. Exhaust the line pressure by depressing both buttons of your syringe until the flow of air and water stops.
  3. Unscrew the handle from your old syringe and cut the tubing as close to the syringe head as possible. Normally, syringe tubing is a two-hole tubing with 2 separate lines joined together.
  4. To attach to your syringe, you will need to split the 2 lines apart for an inch or two from the end. You may need to use a sharp knife or scalpel to trim any excess from between the lines. The new syringe should include 2 small plastic sleeve clamps- short cylinders which will usually be white or clear, slide these over the syringe tubing about an inch.
  5. Identify which line is air, and which is water (there should still be some moisture in the water line), and slide the sleeve clamp on the water line about 1/2” farther down, this will help to identify it as the water line.
  6. Unscrew the handle from the new syringe and slide it over your tubing.
  7. Push the tubing up over the barbs of the new syringe, being careful that the air and water lines are connected to the appropriate barbs.
  8. Using a sleeve tool (or pliers if you don’t have one) slide the sleeve clamps up over the tubing and over the barbs to secure the connection. If using a plier, DO NOT squeeze the sleeves, but rather, close the pliers over the tubing below the sleeve and push against the sleeve with the side of the pliers. You should use a pliers with an open jaw so that you are not actually compressing the tubing. When installed, little or no tubing should be visible above the sleeve clamps.
  9. Turn your unit back on and run the air and water for about one minute to re-pressurize the lines. Test for function, and you’re back in business!

Three Holes?
Most syringes are attached to standard 2 hole tubing. One line for air, one line for water. Some syringes are designed for use with a water heater and are attached to 3 hole tubing. The third line is a return line to your drain to allow constant flow of water so it stays hot. If you don’t have a water heater on your syringe line, but have 3 hole tubing, the 3rd hole should not be connected. If you do have a water heater, and like this feature, you will need a special circulating syringe.

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