Calling out a plumber for every minor plumbing issue in your home is very costly. To save yourself time and money, it is advisable to keep a few essential plumbing tools in your toolbox in the event of minor repairs or installations. Whether you are a novice home plumber or exceedingly experienced, keeping these essential tools close ensures you have the right utensils for any basic plumbing job.
Tongue and Groove Pliers
Basic but essential, tongue and groove pliers are important plumbing tools. They are available in several sizes, but 25.4 cm (10 inches) and 30.5 cm (12 inches) are the most common. They are adjustable pliers with long handles to provide more leverage. You can adjust the lower jaw along a slider, to alter the size of the jaws without widening the handles. This makes tongue and groove pliers particularly useful for applications where space is tight, such as under sinks. Use tongue and groove pliers to grip, pull, tighten, or loosen plumbing fixtures.
You need two pipe wrenches in your toolbox. A pipe wrench is a large, heavy-duty wrench that you use to tighten or loosen threaded pipes and fittings. It has serrated jaws that grip to the pipe. You use one wrench to hold one pipe and the other to turn the threaded fitting. These wrenches feature adjustable jaws to accommodate pipes and fittings of different sizes. Although they are well suited to use on soft iron pipes, you should avoid using them on hardened steel nuts and fittings, as this can damage the thread heads.
A plunger is a very basic but indispensable tool. The first port of call for blockages in sinks, baths, showers, floor drains, and toilets, a plunger consists of a sturdy rubber cup with a long wooden or plastic handle. You place the cup over the drain and depress the handle. This forces air into the drain, which can, in itself, be enough to remove a clog or blockage. When you depress the handle and the rubber cup flattens, the clog does not shift, but as you pull the handle up again, you create a vacuum. This helps dislodge a blockage. If necessary, repeat this plunging action until the blockage clears.
Another basic essential for DIY plumbing, a hacksaw is a fine-toothed handsaw with a solid frame that holds the blade under the correct tension. Use a hacksaw to cut through plastic pipe, metal pipe, nuts, bolts, and fittings. Look for the blade mounted with teeth facing toward or away from the handle. This allows you to cut on either the push or the pull stroke, for added convenience when working in awkward locations.