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Whether you’re a plumber by trade or you want to learn more about fixing your own plumbing problems around your house, there are certain plumbing supplies that you will need. These plumbing supplies are all essential. Still, some are a little more important than others. Here are the top five tools and supplies that you will need to tackle the most common residential plumbing problems. These five plumbing supplies are ranked according to how often you will need them, but believe us when we say that they are all important.
The Most Important Plumbing Supplies to Consider
Plungers are perhaps the most widely used plumbing supplies in any home. Note that we say “plungers” in the plural; there are two different types of plungers that you should have in your home. A flange or toilet plunger will have a rubber flap that can fold out to better fit into the opening at the bottom of a toilet bowl. On the other hand, a sink plunger will have a smaller rubber cup at the end. The rubber flap of a flange plunger is needed to form a tight seal to unclog a toilet. Also, while the flap can be folded inward to work with a sink, we recommend keeping one dedicated toilet plunger and one sink plunger in your home.
2. Drain Snakes
Drain snakes are similar to plungers. Both types of plumbing supplies are used to unclog drains. A drain snake is a long, flexible, barbed plumbing tool. Most people use it to snake into a pipe and loosen or remove a clog. The simplest snakes are long strips of plastic. You can purchase them at any hardware store. Moreover, they will work well with most sinks. However, there are larger and more elaborate snakes available that would fit well amongst most sets of professional plumbing supplies. In any case, a snake is usually what you would use when a plunger doesn’t work.
We should probably take the time to mention that your set of plumbing supplies normally shouldn’t include chemical drain cleaners. These can be used in some cases, but only as a last resort. Not only are these bad for the environment, but they can damage your plumbing with repeated usage. Stick to snakes and plungers instead.
3. Plumbing Wrenches
When most people think about professional plumbing supplies, what usually comes to mind is a large pipe wrench. Yes, a set of plumbing wrenches is essential for any plumbing tool set. This set consists of standard and metric wrenches, but it also includes large and small pipe wrenches. Plumbers typically use these to tighten and loosen pipes and joints as well as a basin wrench.
It might sound like wrenches are very important to a plumbing kit. Therefore, you’re probably wondering why they aren’t one of the top two items on this list. The reason for that is because you will almost certainly use a plunger or a drain snake before you reach for a pipe wrench. Plungers and snakes are very easy for even a plumbing novice to use. A full set of wrenches? Not so much.
4. A Bucket
You will probably need a bucket of some kind to store your wet plumbing supplies. You should consider using it every time you work with pipes in your home. Still, there is another very good reason why everybody should have a larger plastic or galvanized steel bucket ready to go. If you’re going to remove any pipes, whether it’s a P-trap underneath your kitchen sink or a large pipe in your basement, you will have some water drain onto your floor. This might happen if you’re not careful even if you turned your water off. A well-placed bucket should catch any water that drains from your pipes. In fact, you should have at least two buckets ready to go when you take on any plumbing project: one for your plumbing supplies and one to catch water as it drains.
5. Plumber’s Putty
If you have a leaky pipe somewhere in your home, you should have it replaced as soon as you can. If that isn’t an option, you should have some plumber’s putty handy. This substance can be used to temporarily patch a leaky pipe. At least, until you can come up with a more permanent solution. You can also use it if a connector isn’t attached correctly or is damaged. In either case, it’s important to remember that patching a leak with plumber’s putty is a temporary fix. It might prevent a pipe from leaking right now. However, you should either call a plumber to replace the damaged pipe if you cannot replace it yourself.
Putting It All Together
These are just some of the plumbing supplies that you should have in case you have a problem with your pipes in your home. Some other things that you might need include a hacksaw for cutting through metal or PVC pipes, a metal file for removing burrs from metal pipes after they are cut, and tongue-and-groove pliers for holding pipes and connectors together while you work. These plumbing supplies are for more advanced professional plumbers, though; novices who simply want to fix clogged drains and leaky pipes in their homes should do just fine with the five items on this list.
Finally, you should always remember that plumbing is a difficult job and can be more complicated than many realize. If you ever feel like you are in over your head, don’t hesitate to consult a plumbing service near you. Most can send out a plumber out to your house in an emergency at any time of the day or night. So, don’t feel like a severe leak in the middle of the night should wait until the morning. The sooner you get it fixed, the smaller your repair bill will be.