Many people would balk at the mere thought of engaging in DIY projects related to plumbing
. There is a good reason to be cautious; a botched plumbing job could cause a lot of damage and cost more money to repair. If you’re resolved to have a go at fixing and upgrading your plumbing, you will need the right tools. Here are five essential tools that every budding amateur plumber needs in their toolbox.
1. Basic Tools
It may be the case that you already have some or all of the basic tools that you need in your toolbox. At the very least you will need a tape measure, a jack knife, a torpedo level, a metal file, a selection of flat and Philips’ head screwdrivers and a hacksaw. It will also be a good idea to have a variety of different grades of both emery and sandpaper on hand.
2. The Ubiquitous Pipe Wrench
Chances are when they think of the quintessential plumbing tool most people would envisage a wrench. More specifically we need to think about pipe wrenches which have small teeth in the jaws for gripping pipes. It is important to have this extra grip for turning pipes in and out of plumbing fittings. There are many sizes of pipe wrenches available, and it can be tough for a newcomer to know which ones they need. As a beginner, you will probably find that a 6” and a 14” wrench will come in handy most often and you can always add other sizes later if you need them.
3. The Adjustable Wrench
An adjustable wrench will also be a useful tool to have on hand; they come in sizes of 2” up to 2 feet. There is no need to buy every size; you could easily get by with 8” and 12” wrenches. Spend a little extra money to get a good quality brand as they will last longer and they are less likely to slip off a nut or bolt. The upside of adjustable tools is that they fit a wide variety of nuts and bolts. The downside is that they may not hold the bolt tightly enough if the jaws move too much. If you find that you’re getting serious about wrenches, you could invest in a full set of combination, open end or box end wrenches. These wrenches will give a more precise experience, but they will cost more to buy, and it means there are more tools to carry around.
The most useful kinds of pliers for plumbing work are pump models as they have adjustable jaws. This means that you can expand the jaw size without expanding the handles making them easy to grip. Other useful models are locking pliers or vice grips which can be useful for dealing with bolt heads and nuts that have rounded edges.
5. Specialized Plumbing Tools
These tools are only for the truly committed as they are of no use in any other application other than plumbing. You may need a tubing cutter that clamps on the pipe and is rotated for cleaner cuts. A strap wrench is used to spin union nuts onto PVC pipes without breaking them. Finally, an augur or plumbing snake would be handy to deal with blockages, but care should be exercised as misuse can cause additional damage.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.