Owning a home provides you with many new and exciting experiences- including maintaining your plumbing. From toilet clogs to leaky pipes, you’ll have to start dealing with a slew of minor plumbing problems.
The good news is that you won’t have a call a professional plumber for many of these easy-to-fix problems. With a little practice and the right tools, you can do it yourself!
Save money and be prepared for whatever comes your way by packing your toolbox with these 15 essential plumbing tools!
1. Rubber Gloves
We’ll be the first to admit it, dealing with plumbing is nasty. The pipe that you need to unclog could be filled with clumped hair, mushy food, excrement, or mold and mildew. You don’t want to have to touch that with your bare hands, do you?
Protect your hands from the squishy mess in your drains by packing your toolbox with a few sets of rubber gloves! We recommend buying heavy-duty gloves that are strong enough to offer you protection from pipe edges that may be sharp while still being flexible enough to allow you a full range of motion with your hands. Of course, general rubber gloves will work just as well for the at-home plumber.
Plumbing problems have a tendency to put us into dark, confined spaces. Light up the area with a flashlight!
Because you’ll be dealing with a variety of different projects, having a flashlight that can change beam widths is preferable. Being able to switch between flood and spot beams can be helpful in multiple situations.
Flood beams, which light up a general area, are helpful for shining light in the surrounding environment when you’re fixing a pipe under a cabinet.
Spot beams, which can spotlight an item, are beneficial when you’re dealing with slippery items that may have slipped down your faucets.
A common plumbing tool used by the homeowner, plungers are the go-to for any small plumbing problem. It is important to note that there are three main types of plungers, each with its own specific use.
The first is a cup plunger, also called a sink plunger, that can be used to unclog kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and bathtubs.
The second is a flange plunger, also called a toilet plunger, which is the perfect tool to clear up toilet clogs due to its shape.
The final plunger is an accordion plunger, which is also used to clear up clogged toilets. Accordion plungers are able to provide a tighter seal and thus apply more pressure on the clog.
4. Hand Auger
If the plunger didn’t clear the clog in your toilet, bathtub, or sink drain, you’ll want to reach for the hand auger. This long metal cable will weave through your pipes and get rid of any obstructions along the way. Once you hit a clog, simply turn your auger and pull.
5. Pipe Wrench
A pipe wrench is one of the best tools to have in your toolbox. This adjustable wrench enables you to tighten, loosen, remove, and replace pipes. Pipe wrenches are often used two at a time, with one wrench being used to hold the pipe in place while the other helps to loosen nuts, screws, and bolts connected to it.
Because one adjustable wrench alone will not suit every job we recommend buying a set so you have multiple different sizes of wrenches to work with.
Pliers are another great tool to have at your home. The type of pliers most people are familiar with are tongue-and-groove pliers, which are useful for gripping nuts and bolts, irregularly shaped objects, and pipes. These pliers are also helpful when you need to bend or straighten wires. Needle-nose pliers, on the other hand, are perfect for working in small spaces where precision is key. Once again they can be used to hold objects in place, but they come in handy when you need to tear small clumps of hair or dirt out of your piping.
7. Plumber’s Tape
Also called Teflon tape or thread sealing tape, plumber’s tape works well as a temporary fix for a leaky pipe. This thread sealing tape provides a strong bond to the connected surfaces of sealed pipes. This duct tape for the plumbing world is sure to help make any job easier!
8. Leak Detection Tool
Did you know that an average household’s leaky pipes can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water in a year? That can add a whole lot of money to your water bill. Save yourself the headache by investing in a leak detection tool! If you suspect your plumbing may have possible leaks, simply use this tool to locate them.
Do not hesitate to call a professional plumber if serious leak problems arise.
9. Caulking Gun
You’ll often need a water-tight solution to your plumbing job, and caulking guns will provide just that! Load your caulking gun with either caulk or silicone to seal copper piping or most anything made from aluminum, metal, plastic, rubber, stone, and wood.
Specific types of silicone can withstand intense heat, meaning that they can also be used to fix small gaps in your furnace or boiler vents.
10. Plumber’s Putty
Plumber’s putty should work to take care of any small plumbing jobs on your to-do list. Simply apply about 1/4 in of putty to the hole and press around it to ensure it creates a watertight seal. Once you finish this, your plumbing projects should be as good as new!
11. Tape Measure
No plumbing tools list is complete without a measuring tape. Plumbing often requires you to take precise measurements, and a measuring tape will ensure you get an accurate assessment and avoid a costly repair or replacement down the line. We recommend purchasing a soft measuring tape, as it will allow you to easily measure oddly shaped tools and pipes.
12. Power Drill
A must-have tool to add to your plumbing tools collection is the power drill. These hand tools allow you to handle almost any type of project imaginable. Simply swap out the drill bits and attachments to suit your needs.
13. Pipe Cutter
Use a pipe cutter to trim off excess new piping or damaged piping before you begin to work. These tube cutters are more reliable and precise than hacksaws, making them an essential tool for homeowners. We recommend purchasing a few spare blades to have on hand as well.
14. Drain Snake
Drain snakes are the perfect tool to clear minor clogs from your drains. These thin, plastic tools have sharp edges that enable them to grab onto hair strands stuck inside of your pipe. Drain snakes are often used in place of chemicals, making them one of the best tools to clean your bathtubs, showers, kitchen, and laundry rooms.
15. Snake Camera
A snake camera is not an absolute necessity for your plumbing tools list, but these small cameras are certainly helpful for exploring tight spaces. Snake cameras enable you to look at the inside of your pipes without needing to take them apart. You’ll be able to clearly see any clogs, cracks, or rooting taking place within the pipe, and plan out how you’ll fix them.
By having these 15 items in your toolbox you’ll be ready to take on any small plumbing problem that comes your way! If those jobs don’t turn out to be as small as you expected them to be, contact the experts at Knight Plumbing! We’re available for emergency calls 24/7, so don’t hesitate to reach out!