9 Essential Plumbing Tools for Any Homeowner

Posted on: Feb 22, 2023

Even with regular maintenance, some of your home’s fixtures will fail. At some point, you will almost certainly have to deal with plumbing issues, such as a dripping faucet, a clogged toilet, or a damaged pipeline. 

Sometimes, you can mitigate these issues with essential plumbing tools while you wait for a plumber to perform a permanent fix. The following are some of the plumbing tools you should have on hand.

1. Cup Plunger

The most common of all plumbing tools is the cup plunger. With a flat rubber cup at the end of a short, wooden handle, this tool is handy for clearing clogs in sinks, tubs, showers, and other drains with flat or almost flat surfaces. The underside of the cup should make a vacuum seal over the drain, producing suction to clear the clog. 

2. Toilet Plunger

When you need to dislodge a stubborn clog in your toilet, it’s better to use the heavy-duty counterpart of a cup plunger—the flange plunger. Its form is like a cup plunger but with an extended rubber flap at the bottom of the head.

A flange forms a tighter seal around the toilet’s drain hole than a cup, resulting in stronger suction and more effective clog removal. Furthermore, it fits inside most toilet drains and keeps the plunger from turning inside out.

3. Sink Auger

An auger may be more effective if a plunger isn’t clearing the drain in your sink. This tool consists of a corkscrew-tipped stainless steel cable that you wind out and stretch with a hand crank to snake through drains, where it will break up a clog and fish it out.

4. Toilet Auger

A toilet auger is similar in function to its sink counterpart but looks slightly different. It has a long metal rod with a rubber-covered bent end that allows it to reach the hole at the bottom of a toilet bowl. Once in place, turn the handle to push the cable in, allowing the tip to penetrate the obstruction.

5. Pipe Wrench

The pipe wrench is another plumbing necessity used to tighten and loosen connectors on pipes. Its strong, serrated teeth sink into the surface, providing a firm hold and leverage. As you turn it, pressure gradually increases.

Avoid using this tool on shiny fixtures and small pipes because its firm grip and sharp teeth could damage them. Most plumbers have pipe wrenches of different sizes in their collection of essential plumbing tools. However, homeowners can usually get by with one adjustable wrench in their toolbox.

6. Strap Wrench

Use a strap wrench instead of a pipe wrench for loosening and tightening nuts, bolts, and fittings on fragile or simple pipework. It typically includes a rubber belt attached to the handle, making it much easier to grip when applying torque pressure to connectors to remove or replace them.

7. Pliers

Your set of basic plumbing tools should include a pair of pliers. Like pipe wrenches, there are many types available. And if you need to choose one, opt for needle-nose or slip-joint pliers to grip pipes and fittings that are too small for pipe wrenches.

8. Hacksaw or Tubing Cutter

Make any pipe fit your plumbing by cutting it to size. You will need a hacksaw or tubing cutter in your toolbox to do this. A hacksaw can easily cut through PVC pipes, but with the right blade and some effort, it can also cut metal pipework. For copper piping, it’s better to use a tubing cutter to create cleaner cuts.

9. Plumber’s Tape

Thread sealing tape, also called plumber’s tape, is among the essential plumbing tools of professionals because of its usefulness. This thin, white tape wraps around the threads of pipes and fittings before screwing on fixtures to prevent leaks. Quality tape is highly resistant to temperature fluctuations and never dries out, providing extended coverage.

When to Call a Professional

Having the essential plumbing tools listed above doesn’t mean you won’t need plumbing services anymore. There are instances when it’s best to call a plumbing professional rather than attempt a DIY job. These situations include:

  • Sewage Backups: When waste water comes up your drains instead of going down, it’s often a sign of stubborn clogs, damaged sewage pipes, or a back-flow issue.
  • Gurgling Toilets: If your toilet gurgles when you turn on a shower or faucet, it usually indicates negative pressure in the drain pipes. Other reasons for the bubbling include a blocked vent pipe or clogged drain lines.
  • Burst Pipes: Low temperatures can freeze water, which can then cause the pipes to burst. Identifying the leaking line is critical to reducing water damage to your property.

These essential plumbing tools are important, but can only do so much. When you have a bigger problem with your plumbing in OKC, turn to Airco Service.