10 Plumbing & Maintenance Tools You Should Always Have At Home
Hiring a plumber isn’t always the thing that you may be wishing to do for a variety of reasons.
You may be living in a secluded location without quick access to such services. Or you may be in an emergency situation where mere minutes could be decisive.
Besides, some plumbing jobs are relatively simple and actually don’t require a professional necessarily.
In either case, you would probably want to have some plumbing & maintenance tools on hand for such cases. Even if you won’t really be doing plumbing jobs yourself, you should have a couple of basic tools just in case.
So without further ado, let’s see what the 10 basic plumbing and maintenance tools you should be having in your toolbox are.
Toilet plungers are essential for any household. In fact, you may want to have two plungers instead of one: one flange and one cup plunger. Even if you don’t run into a clog issue that frequently, you should have them just in case.
Flange plungers are suitable for clearing toilet clogs because they have an additional soft rubber coming from the cup. And the cup plunger is a tool that would be useful for clearing clogs in sinks, tubs, or other flat-surface drains.
A staple in any plumber’s toolbox, the basin wrench can come in handy in basically any plumbing task.
It is a self-tightening wrench designed to fit into narrow spaces, so you could easily tighten or loosen fittings with a basin wrench in hard-to-reach corners where other types of wrenches just wouldn’t be able to fit into.
And you wouldn’t need to break through any walls to reach those areas!
Pipe wrenches nowadays aren’t being used as widely as they once used to, but they still are necessary plumbing tools.
A pipe wrench is used to tighten and loosen fittings and nuts. In fact, you would probably need to have two pipe wrenches: one to hold the fitting and the other to actually loosen or tighten it with.
You could use just one pipe wrench to adjust the fittings, but you would put stress on the installation. If you are dealing with delicate piping, then using only one pipe wrench could end badly.
Adjustable wrenches are used on compression fittings, supply lines, and generally all the plumbing parts that have hex-shaped nuts. In addition, an adjustable wrench could be used if you don’t want to scratch any finish off of the installation.
When choosing an adjustable wrench, you would want to get one that has a firm jaw setting. If an adjustable wrench doesn’t have one, it just won’t work properly. And if it slips, you may damage your installation.
In addition, make sure to get both 6- and 10-inch adjustable wrenches.
Auger & Snake
Plumbing auger and snake are actually two separate plumbing tools, but since they are often used in tandem, we figured to list them as one.
The auger-and-snake tandem is used for clearing drain clogs that simply don’t yield to a regular plunger. Most commonly, auger and snake are used for dealing with toilet clogs.
Both are designed to easily move through the toilet drain to catch the potential clogs and pull them out. The difference between the two is that a snake is a much more flexible plumbing tool.
A hacksaw would allow you to cut through metal and plastic pipes, hardware, screws, nuts, and whatnot. This is a tool that could come in handy if you can’t really deal with the problem by just tightening or replacing a couple of fittings.
A typical hacksaw is quite bulky and is thereby unsuitable for use in tight areas. You could, however, remove the blade, wrap it in a piece of cloth on one end, and then slip the blade in the tight area. Or, you could just go for a more compact hacksaw to deal with hard-to-reach areas.
Make sure to keep some extra blades in your toolbox just in case. Besides, when dealing with tough cuts, make sure that the blade is tense.
Tongue-and-groove pliers are used to grab, hold, tighten, loosen, or pull something. In fact, some plumbers use these instead of a pipe wrench, probably because they prefer them to pipe wrenches thanks to their compactness and convenience.
Just like pipe wrenches, tongue-and-groove pliers work best in a pair when you hold the fitting with one plier and loosen or tighten it with the other. You would thereby want to have two, though one would still be sufficient for many plumbing jobs.
A tubing cutter is another tool to cut piping with. It is generally more convenient than a hacksaw since it allows you to do quick cuts. Besides, tubing cutter does the cutting much cleaner.
However, whether you need a hacksaw or a tubing cutter will depend on the metal, so you would probably want to have both in your toolbox. Tubing cutters are most commonly used to cut copper or plastic piping.
There are also mini tubing cutters available on the market, so consider to get one as well for reaching tight corners.
Thread Seal Tape
Commonly referred to as PTFE tape or plumber’s tape, thread seal tape is used to sealing pipe threads. Aside from that, the tape works as a thread lubricant and as a deformable filler. Because of that, a joint wrapped in thread sealed tape doesn’t become hard to tighten.
Thread seal tape is inexpensive, so make sure to have a couple of rolls in your toolbox.
A metal file is used to smoothen the edges of cut metal pipes, as well as to remove burrs. For jobs where you use a hacksaw, a metal file may be a necessity.
There are various file sizes available on the market, but you don’t have to get every single one of them. Generally, having a rat-tail file and a half-round file in your toolbox would be sufficient for the majority of plumbing jobs.
Of course, there are hundreds of other tools you can get for your home. We tried to stick to the basics to keep you safe when the time comes.
Guest Contributor, Morgan Antoinette