What Plumbing Tools Should You Have in Your House

Sink Auger (also drum auger or canister auger)

plumbing tools homeowners would use

It is basically a flexible cable that is coiled inside a canister with a self feeding auger bit on the end. The canister is usually connected to a handle and the canister has a knob to turn the rod. The rod is manually pulled out, a set screw is tightened around the cable to lock it in place and the cable is inserted into the clogged line; the rod is turned to break-up the blockage. This tool is very easy to use and is great for clearing blockages in kitchen sinks, lavatories and tub drains that aren’t too far from the fixture drain.This rod is not meant to be used on a toilet. The rod is neither big enough in diameter nor rigid enough to be effective for toilet blockages.

Closet Auger (also called toilet auger or water closet auger)

plumbing tools

The closet auger is probably the most useful plumbing tool a homeowner can buy for their home. It consists of spring cable ending in a self feed auger head, it ends with a handle that when inserted into the toilet can be turned to break up a stoppage and it comes in two sizes ½” x 3 1/2ft and ½” x 6ft. Buy the 6ft if you can afford it, the extra 2 1/2ft really comes in handy and can usually push the blockage to the main.

Flange Plunger

plumbing tools

The flange or bell plunger is a type of plunger that when inserted into a toilet seals at the bottom of the bowl. By the use of pressure when pushed and suction when pulled back the blockage cleared.

Cup Plunger

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The cup plunger, it’s found in almost every home with modern plumbing fixtures, it uses suction push and pull clogs out of drain lines. It is most commonly used with tub, sink and shower drains. It can be used for a toilet blockage but a flange or bell plunger is much more effective.

Sliding Lock Pliers

plumbing tools

This tool is probably the most useful tool in a plumbers tool bucket and is common and useful in the home as well. It consists of two arms ending serrated jaws that can be slid to accommodate things of small and large diameters. It’s uses are endless from tightening nuts and bolts to tightening a slip joint on a P-trap under a kitchen sink to a plumbing professional knocking the last thread off a piece of all thread rod after cutting so they can screw a nut on the end. The other name for this tool and it is more commonly used than sliding lock pliers is Channel Locks®, however this is a company that actually produces this type and many other types of tools. Think of it like Kleenex® or Wave Runner® one of those iconic words that is an actual brand.

Teflon® Tape

plumbing tools

This tape is commonly used by wrapping threaded plumbing joint connections. It fills in the small gaps between the threads ensuring a positive seal. It can be used on shower heads, or threaded water connections. It can also be used for gas piping applications like piping the gas to a natural gas grill or to a fire place Its formal name is PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), it feels rather silky in texture. Teflon tape comes in ½”, ¾” and 1” width in various lengths.

Adjustable Pipe Wrench

plumbing tools

What tool comes to mind when you think of a plumber or plumbing, or plumbing repair? The adjustable pipe wrench. This tool provides tremendous leverage and grip. Its leverage is increased by the length of the wrench, the longer the wrench the better the leverage As you tighten the wrench around the pipe or object by use of the circular knob, its designed allow it grip round objects (such as pipes) securely by digging its serrated teeth into the pipe as pressure is applied to the wrench while it is turned. This tool is used for tightening rough plumbing pipe and fittings. Because of its serrated teeth and the pressure being applied it is known to leave teeth marks on the pipe therefore it should not be used on trim plumbing such as chrome flush valves or to tighten faucets An adjustable crescent wrench or an Adjustable Spud Wrench should be used is these situations.

Adjustable Crescent ® Wrench

plumbing tools

This is another must have item for the home owner and Crescent® is actually a brand name of an adjustable wrench. It features a jaw that is adjustable by way of a rolling gear. You adjust the wrench to the size of the nut or bolt. Very useful tool in that you don’t have to carry all the different sizes wrenches in your tool box. However when something needs to be very tight the adjustable wrench can slip off the nut or bolt potentially damaging the head or the bolt and your knuckles if something is close.

Adjustable Spud Wrench

Think of spud wrench as a cross between and adjustable Crescent® wrench and an adjustable pipe wrench. It is adjusted in the same manner as an adjustable pipe wrench but has the smooth jaws of an adjustable Crescent® wrench. This tool is used when more torque is need to tighten heads of square, hex or octagonal shape but a toothed pipe wrench may damage the surface.

Tubing Cutter

plumbing tools

The picture below is a tubing cutter used to cut copper tubing and is a necessary tool where it is important to have a square cut so that fittings are properly fitted. The tubing cutter is used by holding the copper tubing, securing the cutter around the pipe between the rollers and the cutting wheel at the place the cut is to be made. Then you rotate the cutter around the pipe tightening the knob at the end slightly with each spin. This applies increased pressure on the pipe until the pipe is cut cleanly. After the cut is made there will be a burr around the entire circumference of the pipe, this needs to be taken out with a deburring tool that is usually a part of the tool itself. Deburring the inside of the pipe is an important step to take before assembling the pipe and fittings. See Pipe Turbulence.

Basin Wrench

plumbing tools

Did you ever wonder how a plumber gets the nuts on and off a faucet underneath a kitchen sink or lavatory when the space is tight and visibility is hampered by pipes being in the way? They use a basin wrench, its a tool that only has one real use but it’s inexpensive and pretty easy to use. A basin wrench actually looks like a steel bar with a curved head with teeth on one end. The other end ends with a T handle. Obviously turn the water off before using. Go under the sink and position the head at a 90 angle catching the nut, turn in the appropriate direction to remove and your all set. If the sink faucet is too high to reach you may have to pull out the extended handle.

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