The Best 5 Plumbing Tools for DIY
Ever found yourself in the middle of a plumbing dilemma at home and not had the right plumbing tools to fix the situation?
Thankfully, many of the most common plumbing issues you’ll encounter at home, problems such as a blocked drain, leaky tap or washer that needs replacing, can be resolved with some relatively straightforward DIY work. Other more complicated tasks will likely need the expertise of a licensed plumber.
For those plumbing jobs that you might tackle yourself though, you’ll need some basic but essential plumbing tools. What might those tools be, I hear you say? Well I’m glad you asked!
1. The Wrench Set
There are numerous wrenches that are worth having at your disposal, each serving a relatively unique purpose. Keep these in your DIY plumbing tools kit:
- Adjustable wrench – found in any reputable plumber’s toolbox, the adjustable wrench (also known as an adjustable spanner) has both a fixed jaw and a moveable jaw that can open up to differing degrees. An adjustable wrench is most commonly used for loosening and tightening nuts and bolts and other fasteners. They come in a variety of sizes.
- Pipe wrench – the pipe wrench is typically larger and weightier than a standard adjustable wrench. As the name suggests, this type of wrench is most commonly used on pipes; typically those made out of black iron or galvanised steel. It is able to grip onto the pipe thanks to a set of serrated teeth, with the pressure of that grip increasing as you turn the wrench.
- Basin wrench – the other wrench that is essential to your plumbing tool kit is the basin wrench. It only really serves one real purpose, that being the installation or removal or a tap, but is the best tool for the job. You’ll most likely get the most use out of your basin wrench underneath your kitchen or bathroom sink, with its long shaft and clamp-like gripping head making it the perfect tool for those hard to reach places.
You should find any of these wrenches at your local hardware store. Each will be a worthy addition to your arsenal of DIY plumbing supplies.
2. The Toilet Plunger
It should go without saying, right? The humble plunger is the first tool we reach for when there’s a highly inconvenient blockage in the toilet. If you don’t have one, you need one.
Though a standard plunger – you know the one, with the long stick and suction cup – is ideal for unclogging the shower drain, for the toilet you’ll need a ‘flange and cup’ plunger. It too has a suction cup attached to a handle, but also has an additional flange component that is designed to really get inside the toilet bowl in ways that a standard plunger cannot.
And it certainly cannot hurt to have a standard plunger for the shower or kitchen sink too.
3. Plumber’s Tape
Plumbing tape is an essential item for any professional plumber, and should be equally as essential to your own DIY plumbing tool kit. Also known as thread seal tape, plumber’s tape is highly effective in stopping pipe leakages, as it is designed to imbue threaded pipes with a high performance sealant.
Plumber’s tape boasts a level of versatility that makes it the perfect tool for a range of needs.
It can be the ultimate lifesaver when you need to repair a leaking joint or seal up a hairline fracture in your pipe. When the time comes that you need to repair a leaking joint:
- Shut off the water at the mains
- Detach the pipe from the joint
- Remove any existing tape from the joint that may be wearing out
- Replace with new tape
Plumbing tape can be used on everything from shower heads to kitchen taps, and will provide the all-important seal you need to stop unwanted leaks.
4. The Hand Auger
When the blockage is too much even for the standard or toilet plunger, a hand auger just might be the best of the “Plan B” options. This particular plumbing tool is designed to attack and conquer tougher blockages – the ideal option to try before you need to consider calling a plumber.
The hand auger uses a hand crank to push through any blockages found in showers, sinks or tub drains. Functionally it is similar to a drain snake, however the drain snake is typically smaller in size and better suited to small-scale jobs like kitchen or bathroom sink blockages. Drain augers on the other hand are wider and can unclog larger jobs just as blocked toilets and shower drains.
5. Plumber’s Putty
Much like plumber’s tape, plumber’s putty is great for repairing leaks and holding parts and components in place. Plumber’s putty offers many benefits; it stays malleable and doesn’t dry out, it’s not messy, and is inexpensive and readily available. You’ll be thankful for having it as a staple in your plumbing supplies kit.
You’ll find most, if not all, of these plumbing tools at your local hardware store. Of course if you prefer to leave your plumbing needs to the professionals, you can call Upside Down any time of the day or night.