Having the right plumbing tools can make plumbing repairs much easier. In some cases a project is virtually impossible to do with out the appropriate plumbing tools. It is not necessary to buy a lot of tools and gadgets to do your own plumbing. The following 5 basic plumbing tools will get you started.
- Pliers (tongue and groove): Plumbers used to be known for carrying a pipe wrench to be used on just about every job. Although the pipe wrench is still handy plumbing tools it has basically been replaced with channel locks. Channel locks are just very handy, quick, and they can take apart most plumbing easily and quickly. These pliers work best in pairs, one for stabilizing the pipe and one to unscrew. Also, having a few different sizes can make projects much easier. Channel locks are my go to tool for almost all plumbing repairs.
Note: If your worried about scratching a finish you can wrap the teeth with electrical tape or use a towel between the finish.
- Basin Wrench: Also sometimes called a Sink Wrench, a Basin Wrench is one of the basic plumbing tools that are used in many projects. A Basin Wrench can be very handy when changing out an old faucet in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry sink. A Basin wrench is a self tightening wrench which can be used to loosen or tighten fittings in hard to reach places. When purchasing a Basin Wrench make sure to get one with a telescoping shank that holds a 90 degree position by itself to make things easier for you.
- Compression Sleeve Puller: If you have copper, PEX, or CPVC tubing in your house you most likely have compression angle stops which feed water to your toilets and faucets. Although it is usually easy to unscrew the angle stop itself by holding the back nut the problem is that the nut and compression sleeve are still left on the pipe. This is where the Compression Sleeve Puller comes in handy. It can remove the nut and compression sleeve without damaging the pipe.
- Pipe Wrench: Pipe wrenches, although not as prevalent as they once were, are still necessary plumbing tools. Pipe wrenches are very useful when it comes to something threaded such as iron pipe. Many fitting like the nipples on the water heater, yard hydrants, or pressure regulators will require the use of a pipe wrench (most likely two) to provide enough leverage to unscrew them. Having a few different sized pipe wrenches is a good idea.
- Adjustable wrench: Adjustable wrenches are another handy tool that should be a part of any set of plumbing tools. An adjustable wrench is used when removing angle stops, compression nuts and supply lines to faucets. They can also be used for other things like screwing on or removing a shower head so that the chrome does not get scratched during the installation or cleaning. When purchasing an adjustable wrench look for a good one whose jaws will not slip under torque.
Other handy tools to have in your arsenal of plumbing tools:
- Screw Drivers: Many shapes and sizes are preferred because there are so many different types of screws to remove when doing plumbing repairs. Examples are faucet handles, overflow plates, tub spouts and more.
- Allen Wrench Set: Many designer faucet and shower handles are held on with Allen screws. They are easy to remove but of course you have to have the right size Allen wrench. Loose Allen keys work well because you can get them into almost any position and tight places. The Allen keys that come in a key set and cannot be removed and used individually can often cause problems in tight places.
- Hacksaw: Plumbing does not always come apart easy and a good hacksaw will surely be useful when cutting any type of pipe, stubborn bolts, nuts, or screws. With a hacksaw you can remove the blade, wrap one in with a cloth, and slip it in for hard to reach places. Many versions of hacksaws big and small are available to choose from. Consider more that one type of saw if possible, such as one large and one small, for different repairs.
- Plumber's Putty: Plumber’s putty is a soft pliable caulking and sealing compound that is used to make watertight seals around faucets and drains. The use of plumber’s putty can sometimes be confusing. Some of the most common uses for plumber’s putty include sinks and tub drains.