As Plumbers, we constantly see our customers not have the proper Plumbing tools in thier homes. We encourage them to have the tools just in case they need to stop a leak while waiting for thier plumber to come out.
1. Propane Torch: Required if you’re going to sweat copper pipe and fittings. Spend the extra money for a self-igniting torch head ($30-$60) that lights at the squeeze of a trigger. You’ll find it much more convenient than using a striker or matches.
2. Tongue-and-Groove Pliers: Commonly called by the brand name Channellocks, these pliers are the first tool plumbers reach for when they need to grab, pull, twist, hold, tighten or loosen something. Be sure to get two sizes: 10-in. ($10-$15) and 12-in. ($20-$25).
3. Hacksaw: Use this versatile saw ($15-$25) to cut through metal pipe, hardware, screws, nuts and bolts and plastic pipe. Make sure the blade is tense in the frame for tough cuts, and be sure to keep extra blades on hand. In tight spots, wrap one end of a loose blade in a cloth to create a handle to slip the blade in for the cut.
4. Metal File: This tool removes burrs and smooths the edges of metal pipes after cutting. It’s best to have two files on hand: half-round ($10), which has both rounded and flat surfaces, and a rat-tail file ($8), which is round and tapered.
5. Basin Wrench: An invaluable tool ($10-$20) for tightening and loosening nuts that hold sink faucets in place. The tool’s long shaft and swiveling jaw can reach up and into the deep, narrow space behind a sink and lock onto the nuts. There’s no other tool that can do what this one does.
6. Pipe Wrench: These large, heavy wrenches are used to tighten and loosen threaded pipes, fittings and nuts. You’ll need two–one for turning and one for gripping and holding. The serrated teeth help the wrench hold its grip but can damage a fixture’s finish.
7. Hand Auger: Sometimes called a plumber’s snake, this hand-cranked drain-clearing tool ($20-$30) has a 25-ft.-long flexible steel cable that’s effective at clearing obstructions from tubs, showers, sinks, toilets and drain lines. Use it when the plunger fails.
8. Plunger: This indispensable tool ($5-$10) isn’t called the plumber’s best friend for nothing. It’s the first tool to grab when you need to dislodge clogs from sinks, tubs, toilets, showers and floor drains. When using it in a toilet, press down, create a firm seal around the drain, and pull upward. The idea is to vacuum the clog out, not push it deeper.
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