6 Essential Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Tools
If you plan to tackle a plumbing problem yourself, you’ll need the right tools.
Avoid damaging your plumbing, creating a mess and calling a professional by having the appropriate tools for common households plumbing needs.
Here is a list of the top six tools you’ll need to get the job done.
A plumber’s snake is an essential tool for unclogging toilets or drains.
Shaped like a thin, metal snake, this tool can slip through plumbing and be used to loosen debris that has clogged the flow of water.
Snakes often have a crank at one end, allowing the tool to be rotated while a coil at the opposite end spins into the clog, grabbing hold of the debris. Once the snake has a hold of the debris, it can pull it out, or break it up, allowing it to smoothly flow down the plumbing.
This can also be effective for breaking up hardened material along the inside of the pipes, which the snake can scrape off.
Snakes sold for personal home use typically cost under $30, and are available online and at home improvement stores.
Combining elements from various other wrenches, this tool’s long, thin body is made to be used in cramped spaces under sinks that cannot often be reached with a regular wrench, or do not have enough space to turn a regular wrench.
There are three separate types of basin wrenches:
- Telescoping: the length of the wrench can be adjusted and locked into place.
- Ratchet basin wrench: used on socket heads with limited flexibility, but has the ability to be used on a variety of socket tools.
- Standard basin wrench: normal basin wrench, encompassing an extended torque tube attached to a pin handle, ranging in length from 10 to 17 inches.
The plunger is one of the most common plumbing tools found in the average household. Requiring little experience and easy to use, the plunger is a necessity for clogged toilets, and can be used on sinks and bathtubs.
Different styles of plungers are designed for different types of plumbing.
- Cup plungers, the most commonly seen variety, are only designed to be used on flat surfaces like showers, bathtubs and sinks. Cup plungers are often ineffective on toilets, as they cannot mold to the curved surface, and cannot form a seal for suction.
- Flange plungers are made for use on toilets. Formed in the shape of a tube rather than a cup, these plungers are able to form a seal when used on toilets, creating the necessary amount of suction required to remove clogs.
When working on plumbing, you will often need to be in tightly spaced, dark areas. Cramped cabinets for under-sink maintenance and underground pipes often can’t be reached by the room’s regular lighting.
In order to ensure you can properly view your work extra lighting will be required.
Consider using one of the following tools to assist your plumbing work:
- Headlamps: instantly shed light wherever you look with a small light attached to a headband.
- Clamp lights: can be attached to pipes, bars, doors or anything else able to fit in the clamp, making them easily positioned around your work.
- Bendable flashlights: can be set wherever you need them, and twisted to point in the direction of the pipes you are working on.
If you plan to work on your own plumbing, it is always important to monitor your water pressure. You’ll want to know what it was before you started working to ensure that the pressure afterwards has not been affected by any of the work you did.
Having a water pressure gauge will also allow you to ensure your plumbing can pass inspection during construction.
Adjustable Pipe Wrench
The final, standard tool in the plumbing arsenal, this wrench is one of the most commonly used items in a plumber’s tool box.
Designed to be used on pipes, the adjustable wrench can tighten around a variety of differently sized pipes, giving you the perfect grip and leverage to make your adjustments.
Due to the incredibly strong grip of the adjustable pipe wrench, it can leave scratches in piping. When working on visible pipes, try placing a piece of duct on the area you wish to adjust, protecting the metal from the wrench’s serrated teeth.
Before beginning your plumbing work, make sure you are prepared for common household plumbing needs. Having the correct tools to get the job done will decrease your chances of needing to call a professional.
From the basic sink and toilet plungers to telescoping basin wrenches, purchase these essential plumbing tools to use the next time you run into a plumbing problem and then you’ll always have your tool kit ready for the next job.