9 Essential Plumbing Tools
- Plunger: A plunger can be used for a toilet, sink, or shower drain. You can essentially vacuum the clog out by covering the pipe or drain opening completely, pressing down (which creates a seal), and pulling back. To create a better seal, apply petroleum jelly around the bottom ring of the plunger.
- Toilet Auger: An auger, or plumbing snake, can reach deeper than a plunger. It is a hand-cranked device with a long metal cable. By fitting it into any drain it will go, an auger can break up stubborn clogs in one try or several. Continue cranking and un-cranking the cable several times if the drain isn’t restored at first.
- Pipe Wrench: Two of them are needed; one to grip a pipe or nut and another to turn. It will turn any fitting with a rounded surface. The adjustable jaw locks in the frame and serrated teeth hold the grip, so you can loosen even rusted fittings. Wrap a rag around the wrench to avoid damaging a pipe or fixture.
- Adjustable Wrench: A low-cost tool you’ll find at any hardware store, an adjustable wrench can fit various-sized hardware. It can be used as a clamp when replacing a faucet or showerhead, or any part with a hex-shaped nut, including a compression fitting or supply line. The moving jaw can be repositioned at any time.
- Basin Wrench: This wrench is designed for loosening and tightening sink faucet nuts. The long shaft and swiveling, spring-loaded jaw of a basin wrench is designed to reach into a deep, narrow space, such as that behind a sink. It is the only tool that’ll let you lock onto nuts in this way.
- Hacksaw: A versatile saw that can cut through metal and plastic, including pipes, nuts, bolts, screws, and other types of hardware. The tenser the blade, the more precise the cut. To cut, wrap a cloth around one end of the loose blade. Hacksaw blades range from course to fine; the more number of teeth per inch, the finer the blade.
- Tongue and Groove Pliers: Clamping tools are critical in plumbing. Tongue and groove pliers are versatile clamps with a slip-joint design; the jaws can thus open quite wide to grab large objects. The long handles help in turning, tightening, and loosening.
- Plumber’s Putty/Tape: Plumber’s putty creates a watertight seal and can avoid leaks. With plumber’s tape, you can seal threaded joints with just a few layers.
- Metal File: A cut metal pipe needs to be smoothed. The file will help you remove burrs so the pipe fits and doesn’t have sharp edges. Metal files to have include a round, tapered rat-tail file and a half-round file with flat and round surfaces.