Homeowners can take care of their household needs with only a few plumbing tools, while expert plumbers move around with quite a lot of specialty equipment.
Actually, the most frequent home plumbing repairs don’t often require special techniques and advanced tools.
However, some specialty tools are essential for regular plumbing work.
At the top of that list are those tools for the most common plumbing issues: clogged drains.
Plumbing Tools: Sink Auger
Also referred to as a canister auger or drum auger, a sink auger is the ultimate tool for clearing and breaking up clogs in tub and sink drains.
They are not to be used on toilets.
A sink auger is made up of a supple cable of stainless steel material and a corkscrew tip.
The cable coils inside a drum canister and extends into a drain so as to reach and clear a clog.
There’s a handle on the drum and a thumbscrew keeping the cable locked to the canister.
As the handle is turned after inserting the cable in the drain, the cable is snaked through the bends of the drain pipe by the rotating drum, which allows the tip of the cable to penetrate and pull out clogs.
Closet or Toilet Auger
Toilet auger is also known as a closet or water closet auger and is used to remove toilet clogs.
Using a this tool for standard drains or even using a sink auger for a toilet is wrong since the purposes for which they are designed are very different.
A toilet auger comprises of a long metal rod that reaches into the hole beneath the toilet bowl.
The porcelain is protected against scratches by a rubber sleeve covering the bend.
Position the tool, push and rotate its cable so as to snake it through the clog to remove it.
Plumbing Tools: Toilet Plunger
Toilet plungers are specially shaped to clear toilet clogs. They are also called flange or ball plungers.
It is similar to a typical plunger but comes with a flange (a rubber flap extended beneath the plunger head dome) which helps to seal round the hole beneath the toilet bowl.
Sealing the bottom opening enables the plunger to effectively create enough hydraulic pressure to remove most toilet clogs.
Plumber’s tape is essential for the prevention of leaks around threaded plumbing joints.
It is commonly known as Teflon tape though it doesn’t consist of Teflon-brand material
This white tape that is thin enough to wrap round fittings and pipe threads before twisting them together.
This provides some lubrication to support threading and also helps against leaks by sealing the joints.
It is made with PolyTetraFluoroEthylene (PTFE) and has a silky feel. It is also available in small rolls.
These types of pliers are also called slip-joint pliers, and are also popularly known as Channel-Locks, which is their brand name.
They are quite similar to typical adjustable pliers, only that they have broadened adjustable sections and angled jaws which allow you to grip plumbing parts of various sizes.
With long handles, twisting and squeezing is even far easier.
They can be used to grip weighty steel pipes or lightly tighten bulky plastic nuts around sink drains.
If you are to own just one specialty tool for plumbing, then this should be it.
Plumbing Tools: Adjustable Pipe Wrench
The ideal plumbing tool, an adjustable pipe wrench provides incredible grip and leverage.
It securely grips round objects (like pipes) by digging its sharp saw-like teeth into it, with a pressure that increases when the wrench is turned.
Since teeth marks are left behind after using a pipe wrench, it is not advisable to use them with shiny fixtures or fragile or smaller pipes such as copper pipes.
Iron pipes and galvanized steel, however, can withstand pipe wrenches, as well as heavy-duty fixtures that have rougher finishes, like hydrants or outdoor spigots.
Tubing cutters are essential for copper pipes and provides clean and square cuts much easier than a hacksaw.
Its cutting wheel is thin and cuts through metal, and its flat pressure wheel applies pressure when the knob is turned.
Clamp the tool around a pipe and turn it round, tightening the knob as you do so every two or three turns.
The material will gradually be cut through by its cutting wheels.
Plumbing Tools: Faucet Valve-Seat Wrench
This is a simple tool that is used on a compression faucet in the removal of the valve seats.
Compression faucets are the oldest kinds of faucets and they function by having a rubber washer compressed against a valve seat within the body of the faucet.
Wearing out of the washer can damage or roughen the valve seat and prevent it from sealing completely.
At that point, the valve seat and be removed and replaced with the use of a valve-seat wrench.
If the seat cannot be removed, you have to use a reseating tool to regrind it smoothly.
Faucet Packing, O-rings and Rubber Washers
Faucet packing, O-rings and washers are essential for repairing leaky valves on radiators, sinks, and other traditional or old equipment.
Packing is a string coated with wax or graphite used to wrap round valve stems beneath packing nuts in order to make a waterproof seal.
O-rings and rubber washers come in variety packs with many different sizes and shapes.
If you’re unable to find a replacement part of an old faucet at the store, you will find it in a variety pack.
Having one around just might save you from going to the store.