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What Plumbing Tools Do I Need?

Hopefully as a responsible person you’ve got a basic toolset around the house to help with daily repairs. Things like a good hammer, a screwdriver set, and a tape measure are essentials that will come in handy on a regular basis. However, for many homeowners, there’s a special subset of tools that will come in just as handy as those classics, but may not be as common, plumbing tools. The last thing you want to be doing when you have a plumbing emergency is trying to figure out what to do without the proper tools on hand. Having just a few crucial items can go a long way to keeping you prepared for the dreaded day when you have water leaking out from some unknown spot.

Pipe Wrench - A heavier duty tool than your basic wrench, a pipe wrench will be made with either steel or aluminum that will grasp onto soft iron or steel pipes for adjustment. Because of the heavy construction of the pipe, it is not meant for softer materials like PVC since it can damage them.

Strap Wrench - This is a wrench that uses an adjustable strap to grasp fittings. Because it uses a softer material than a steel wrench, this can be used with less concern for scratching or otherwise marring material.

Tongue and Groove/Slip-Joint Pliers - These are pliers that have an adjustable groove set to allow them to be set to a wider jaw to grab different sizes of nuts or connections. Having two is important when it comes to plumbing because you may have to "hold back" pipe fittings.

Basin Wrench - This is a wrench with an extended shaft that is used for reaching into a more restricted space, such as fittings under your sink. It has asymmetrical jaws with a crossways handle on the other side. This allows it to work in places where a more standard wrench would not be able to fit.

Seal Tape - This is tape that is used when connecting pipe fittings. It lubricates the fittings to allow joints to tighten when set as well as prevents seizing when the pipes unscrewed. This might often be referred to as Teflon tape or PTFE tape.

Plunger - Chances are, you already have a plunger in your home, ideally stored next to your toilet. However, there’s also a good chance you’re using it wrong. The goal when using a plunger is not to push obstructions further down into your piping. Rather, you should be trying to use the pressure the plunger creates to pull the obstruction back out to allow it to redrain correctly.

Closet Auger - Designed for clearing heavier obstructions from your toilet, the closet or toilet auger has an L shaped metal tube that lets you maneuver the auger down into your toilet’s drain. A plastic setting on the bottom will keep the metal bend from damaging the porcelain in your toilet’s drain.

Snake - Also called a hand auger, this is a tool that you can use on sink drains to clear out obstructions. The twisted spring at the end will grasp drain blockages to push them through or pull them back out.

This is just a basic overview of some of the tools you’ll want to keep on hand for plumbing jobs. When working on your plumbing basics, this is also a great time to make note of where the water shut off valves are in your building. Also keep the phone number of a trustworthy and recommended plumber on hand for larger jobs. To check out these and other plumbing tools, peruse our online selection here, and we’d love to see you in any of our locations to ask your plumbing questions of our helpful staff!