What are all those Plumbing Tools?
First of all there is nothing worse than turning up to a job and not having the right tools. A good Plumber will have everything they may ever need with them on every job. I remember having to empty out the plumbers vehicle every weekend so we could go camping. Buckets and buckets filled with everything one could imagine. Tool boxes filled to the brim. And then the pipes, all different shapes and sizes!
My Plumber has been passed down loads of advice from generations of family plumbers. He has all the right tools of the trade. Having everything on hand can save time. That time saving can then be passed onto customers. Sometimes inevitably we will have to track down to the Plumbing Store.
Certainly there are tools in his tool box that do not even have anything to do with Plumbing. Simply listening, working with and paying attention to over 100 years of advice from other Plumbers throughout his career has led to the menagerie of different Plumbing tools. The older the tool the more important it becomes.
Every Homeowner Needs a Few Essential Plumbing Tools
Common household plumbing repairs are more about the know how and replacement parts than advanced tools and special techniques. But there are a few specialty items that are indispensable for everyday plumbing jobs. Some specific tools for the most familiar plumbing problem of all, clogged drains.
A sink auger is the ultimate tool for breaking up and clearing clogs in sinks. Just don’t use it on toilets, call for a closet auger or toilet auger.
A sink auger consists of a flexible stainless steel cable with a corkscrew tip at the end. The cable is coiled within a drum canister and is extended into a drain to reach a clog and clear it. The drum has a handle, and there’s a thumbscrew that locks the cable to the canister, when you insert the cable into the drain and turn the handle, the rotating drum snakes the cable through bends in the drain pipe, allowing the cable tip to penetrate clogs and pull them out.
Toilet or Closet Auger
The toilet auger is used to clear clogs in toilets. Don’t use a sink auger for toilets, or toilet auger for standard drains, as the tools are designed for very different purposes. A toilet auger has a long metal rod with a bend for reaching into the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl. A rubber sleeve covers the bend to protect the porcelain in the toilet from being scratched. Once the tool is in place, push and rotate the auger cable to snake it into or through the clog.
Flange Plunger (Toilet Plunger)
The flange plunger is a specially shaped plunger used to clear clogs in toilets. It works like a regular plunger but has a flange which is an extended rubber flap below the dome of the plunger head that helps seal around the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl. With the bottom opening sealed, the plunger can effectively create the hydraulic pressure necessary to dislodge most clogs from a toilet.
Cup Plunger (Sink and Tub Plunger)
The cup plunger may be the most common plumbing tool in the home. It has a rubber cup-like shape and a wooden handle and is used to clear clogs in sinks, tubs, and showers. Do not use this plunger for clearing toilet clogs as that requires a specially shaped plunger called a flange plunger. Some flange plungers, though, can be used as standard cup plungers when the flange is tucked up inside.
Plumbers tape is an essential material for preventing leaks at threaded plumbing connections. Often called Teflon tape (although it’s not made with Teflon-brand material), plumber’s tape is a thin tape that wraps around threads on pipes and fittings before twisting the parts together. It adds a bit of lubricant to aid threading and also helps to seal the joint to prevent leaks. Made with PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), it is silky in texture and is sold in small rolls.
Channel Type Pliers
Channel type pliers are also known as slip-joint pliers.They’re similar to regular adjustable pliers but have extended adjustment sections as well as angled jaws. This allows grip pipes or other plumbing parts of almost any size. The long handles provide tremendous leverage for squeezing and twisting. Use them to grip heavy steel pipe or to gently tighten large plastic nuts on sink drains. If you own only one specialty plumbing tool, this should be the one.
Adjustable Pipe Wrench
An adjustable pipe wrench is the quintessential metal plumbing tool. It provides tremendous leverage and grip. It is designed to grip pipes securely by digging its sharp serrated teeth into the pipe with increasing pressure as the wrench is turned.
A pipe wrench leaves teeth marks behind and is not recommended for removal of shiny fixtures or for small or fragile pipes, like copper water pipes. Pipe wrenches are primarily used on galvanized steel and iron pipe and on heavy-duty fixtures with rough finishes, such as outdoor spigots or hydrants.
Faucet Valve-Seat Wrench
A faucet valve-seat wrench is a simple tool used to remove the valve seats on a compression faucet. Compression faucet is the oldest style of faucet. It works by compressing a rubber washer against a valve seat in the faucet body.
When the washer wears out, the valve seat can become damaged and rough, preventing a complete seal. When that happens, remove the valve seat and replace it, using a valve seat wrench. If the seat is not removable, regrind it to a smooth surface using a reseating tool.
Faucet Packing, Washers and O-rings
Faucet packing and rubber washers and O-rings are lifesavers for fixing leaky valves on sinks, radiators, old or traditional equipment. Packing is a graphite or wax-coated string. Wrap around valve stems and pack under packing nuts to create a watertight seal. Rubber washers and O-rings are sold in variety packs containing several different shapes and sizes.
Most importantly if you cannot think of anything worse than fixing Plumbing issues yourself, just call us!
And don’t forget to check out some of our Tricks Of The Trade
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