Basic Plumbing Tools Every Homeowner Should Have
A homeowner can encounter common plumbing issues on a daily basis. Complicated problems warrant the assistance of an expert plumber, while other simpler issues like clogged sinks, clogged toilets, or leaky pipes can be remedied at home without the immediate assistance of a plumber.
Before jumping on any plumbing project, it’s important to make sure that you have all the necessary plumbing tools on hand. Here are some essential plumbing tools to have ready in case of emergency:
Plungers are one of the most basic tools for clogged toilets and drains. There are two types: cup plungers, which are used to clean out drain clogs in tubs, sinks, or any other flat surface, and flange plungers, which are used for clogged toilets. Flange plungers have a soft rubber component at the cup that makes a tight seal on the curved surface of the toilet bowl. It’s advisable to have both plungers available in case of sudden clogging.
Often referred to as Teflon tape, Plumber’s tape is essential for preventing leaks at threaded plumbing connections. Made of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a substance typically used in coating non-stick cookware, it’s a thin, white tape that can be wrapped around threads on pipes or fittings to keep parts together. It can also be used as a sealant to stop leaks or as a lubricant for threading.
Adjustable pipe wrench
Regarded as one of the most basic plumbing tools, an adjustable pipe wrench is ideal for compression fittings, supply lines, and other plumbing parts that have hexagonal-shaped nuts. It is used to secure pipes by digging its serrated set of teeth into the pipe with increasing pressure as the wrench is turned. Superior adjustable wrenches have a firm jaw that doesn’t slip. It’s advisable to have both six-inch and ten-inch wrenches inside your toolbox.
Tongue-and-groove pliers are slip-joint pliers with serrated jaws set about 45 to 60 degrees from the handles. They are similar to adjustable pliers with the exception of extended adjustment sections that allow for gripping pipes and other parts of different sizes. Their long handles provide excellent leverage for twisting and squeezing, and they are useful for gripping heavier steel pipes or tightening large plastic nuts on sink drains.
Faucet packing, rubber washers, and O-rings
These tools are beneficial in fixing leaky valves in sinks, radiators, and other older equipment. Coated in graphite or wax, they consist of a string used to wrap around valve stems, as well as packing nuts to create watertight seals. Rubber washers and O-rings come in different sizes and shapes that are usually sold in packs.
This is an essential tool if you are working with copper pipes. Tubing cutters are used to create clean, square cuts on copper pipes. It has thin cutting wheels that can cut metal. Use a tubing cutter by clamping and rotating it onto a pipe, then tighten the knob after every two or three rotations. Gradually, the cutting wheels will cut through the pipe. Once the pipe is cut, remove the burr on the inside of the pipe with a triangular metal piece called a de-burring tool. This can be fitted to the body of the tubing cutter. Purchase the standard- and small-sized tubing cutters.
While these tools can help you solve some common plumbing issues, nothing beats the expertise of a licensed plumber. A well-stocked toolbox and proper plumbing knowledge can assist you with short-term problem solving until the experts arrive.
Should complex plumbing emergencies arise, call Abbey Plumbing and Mechanical in Mississauga at (905) 822-0521 today.