Whether you’re a new homeowner or a seasoned DIYer, chances are that at some point you’ll face a plumbing emergency. Having the right tools on hand can save you time and money until a professional plumber can come out to make repairs.
Keep a few basic tools around to tackle common problems, such as plungers, augers and putty. This list covers 13 tools every homeowner should have.
There’s nothing more inconvenient than a clogged toilet or drain, but with the right tools you can keep these problems to a minimum and avoid calling a plumber. A plunger is a cheap and easy-to-use tool that’s perfect for clearing drain blockages. A standard cup plunger works well for sinks and tubs, while a flange plunger is better for toilets. Avoid chemical drain openers whenever possible, as they can damage pipes.
Another useful tool for unclogging drains is a hand auger. Also known as a drain snake, this handy device includes a spool of flexible metal wire that fits seamlessly into a clogged drain to push or pull away debris. There are even specialized augers for toilets that have a curved head designed to work in tight spaces without damaging porcelain.
2. Wrench Set
A good wrench set is a must-have tool for any plumbing emergency. There’s a huge variety available, with standard variants that can fit any budget, plus some that ratchet and others that are super thin to get into tight spaces.
The best wrench sets contain a range of sizes, so that you can tackle both metric and SAE fasteners. “They’re usually made from heat-treated alloy steel and are coated to resist corrosion,” Wostarek says. “They’re also lightweight and comfortable to grip.”
Other important factors when choosing a wrench set include how well the jaws adjust, whether they have an ergonomic design, and how easily they’re able to lock into place. It’s a good idea to try out a wrench before buying to see how it feels in your hands. A quality adjustable wrench will open and close smoothly without hanging up. Other must-have tools include a basin wrench, or sink wrench, which has a long handle that lets you get into tough spots to remove pipes.
3. Long-Nose Pliers
Long-nose pliers are an absolute must-have tool for any home owner. They are designed to fit into tight spaces and grip tiny objects like wires or nuts. They also work well in confined areas that regular pliers cannot reach, such as the backs of electrical outlet boxes or cracked car engines.
This set from Tekton is a great choice for anyone who wants to be prepared for all kinds of plier tasks. It includes three different pairs, including one with angled jaws that can access difficult-to-reach spots. This model is also insulated, which helps protect you against electrical shock.
If you will be working around live electrical wiring, make sure to select a pair with an insulating rating of 1,000V or higher. Working with electricity is dangerous, and it can result in severe injury or death if done incorrectly. Always consult a reputable, licensed electrician for any electric-related home improvement projects.
4. Hand Auger
Clogged drains and toilets are one of the most common plumbing issues that can occur. Although some clogs require professional help, many homeowners can resolve them themselves by having the right tools on hand.
A plumber’s auger is an effective tool for removing stubborn clogs that a plunger cannot handle. This specialized device is comprised of a long, flexible cable with a hook at its end. It can be maneuvered through pipes to break up or pull out clumps of hair, food, and other debris that are blocking the flow of water.
There are different types of augers available, depending on your needs. Drum augers offer more power and can be used to clear larger drain lines, while handheld augers are a better option for household clogs. Whether you need an auger for your garden, to dig post holes, or even for ice fishing, this is a must-have tool that can be used for a variety of projects.
5. Tongue and Groove Pliers
If you’re battling a leaky faucet or another minor problem, it’s important to have the right tools. Having a fully-stocked toolbox can help you tackle any plumbing issue until you can call for professional plumbing service in Sugar Land.
These pliers have angled jaws that make gripping uncomfortable areas easier. They’re also versatile enough to work on any type of material.
Over time, nuts and bolts can become rounded or smooth to the point where they are no longer secure or clampable. A wrench is designed specifically for these types of components and can save you a lot of time.
A pipe threader is a handy hand tool that helps you create new threads on copper piping. It’s great for creating a watertight seal. It can be used to attach fittings and joints and is easy to use. Plumber’s tape is a thin, waterproof tape that’s used to prevent leaks around pipes and connections.
6. Adjustable Wrench
An adjustable wrench is a must-have for plumbing emergencies, as it has jaws that can loosen or tighten various bolt and nut sizes. You can control the size of the movable jaw by controlling a thumb screw. However, excessive force on the movable jaw can cause it to break.
Other tools to consider include a pipe repair clamp, which can be used as a temporary solution until a plumber arrives, and a flashlight that helps you peer into dark or poorly lit spaces such as underneath sinks and behind appliances. You can also use an auger and a snake to tackle the toughest drain clogs that don’t respond to plunging.
Having these basic tools on hand could save you a lot of money and stress in the event of a plumbing emergency. If you’re not sure what to keep on hand, talk to your Thousand Oaks plumber to learn more about the tools they recommend.
7. Plumber’s Tape
Having the right tools at your disposal can help you address and resolve plumbing issues quickly. From a plunger that’s essential for unclogging drains to a pipe wrench that provides a solid grip for tightening and loosening, these tools are must-haves for any homeowner.
Plumbers’ tape, also referred to as Teflon tape, is used to create watertight seals on threaded pipes and fittings. This prevents leaks and ensures that the system works properly. Without it, even minor imperfections in the threading can lead to leaks and other problems.
You can also use other types of pipe sealants or pipe dope as alternatives to plumber’s tape, but these typically have higher strength and are better suited for permanent sealing than for providing short-term solutions. No matter what type of plumber’s tape you choose, make sure you keep a roll handy in case of a plumbing emergency so that you can mitigate the damage until a professional can arrive.
Lighting in an emergency situation can be limited, and a good flashlight can help you navigate obstacles you might otherwise have difficulty navigating. They’re useful in locating shut-off valves for your water and preventing contamination from leaky pipes. They can also signal for help or be used to generate heat.
In addition to their utility, a flashlight can be useful in self-defense situations. The bright light can temporarily blind an attacker, giving you time to run away or call for help.
Flashlights aren’t just for home use, but are an essential tool to keep in your backpack, camping gear or hiking bag. Many models are designed to be hands-free, such as headlamps or clip-on LED flashlights. They can make it easier to work in tight spaces and allow you to focus on the task at hand. Choose one that meets ANSI FL1 standards for maximum durability and brightness. Some even include detachable light guides to illuminate dark tanks, walls or structures.