Plumbing issues can happen to any homeowner, at any time. Before you reach for the phone and call your local Perth plumber, though, take a moment to think about whether you can complete the repairs yourself. Many common plumbing problems are easy to fix with a few common household plumbing tools and a bit of know-how. Doing the repair yourself gives you’re a real sense of accomplishment, so a proper plumber's toolkit is well worth the investment. If you’re suffering from a much more severe or complex plumbing issue, it might be worth calling the professionals!
Read on for the 10 most important plumbing tools you need to have in your toolbox.
The DIY Plumber's Essentials
If you only have one plumbing tool in your home, make it a plunger. You'll use this simple device more times than you would like to remember over the years, so don't be afraid to spend a few extra dollars for a high-quality plunger. Your plunger will be your first line of defence against blocked drains and usually works wonders for smaller, less complex clogs.
2. Adjustable Wrench
Plumbing systems have lots of nuts and bolts. An adjustable wrench lets you change the size of the grip to accommodate a wide range of fittings, and the jaw locks into place to prevent it from slipping while you work. It's a good idea to buy both 6-inch and 10-inch models to give you greater flexibility. The 10-inch wrench will give you greater reach, while the 6-inch style will provide easier access in cramped spaces such as under the kitchen sink bench.
3. Pipe Wrench
A pipe wrench is a larger wrench used for loosening and tightening fittings on large pipes. You'll need to buy two of them though, as you'll use one to hold the pipe in place and the other to turn the fitting. The jaws of pipe wrenches tend to be serrated, so it is a good idea to wrap a cloth around the pipe before gripping to minimise the risk of scratching your fixtures.
4. Plumber's Tape
Over time, the grooves that help fittings screw together can get worn down. When this happens, they won't create a tight seal anymore, possibly resulting in leaks. Wrap plumber's tape around the affected area to seal off any gaps and prevent leaks. If you don't have any plumber's tape on hand, you can also use standard duct tape for this purpose, though this is more of a temporary fix as it may not be as effective over the long term.
5. Tongue-and-Groove Pliers
Pliers are great for getting a good grip on something small, especially when you are having difficulty grabbing it with your fingers. There are many different types of pliers, so look for a small pair with serrated jaws for the best grip. Pliers are ideal for many other DIY projects as well, so they won't be relegated solely to your plumbing toolkit.
6. Plumbing Snake
Also called an auger, this is a handy tool for clearing blocked drains when a plunger can't quite get the job done. It features a metal coil at one end, which you insert into the drain. You have the option of choosing between manual and motorised varieties to suit your needs, preferences and budget. A motorised snake will be more efficient, but the cost will be much higher. Manual augers, on the other hand, are more affordable, but you'll have to work a bit harder to crank the coil yourself. It is important to note, though, that this type of snake should not be used in toilets that flush; for those, you'll need a toilet snake to prevent damage.
From time to time, you may need to cut through metal or plastic pipes, and a hacksaw is just the tool for the job. It is also useful for cutting through stubborn bolts, nuts and other common hardware items. You should always keep a stash of extra blades in your toolbox, as the blade you are currently using will dull over time. Blades can also be prone to breakage as they get worn. Keep the blade tense as you saw to make the smoothest, easiest cuts.
8. Tubing Cutter
A tubing cutter, or pipe cutter, is specifically designed for cutting copper pipes. Copper is a common material used in plumbing, so you'll be reaching for this tool quite often. In addition to the standard size, it is also smart to have a mini pipe cutter. You'll find many tight spaces as you work on your plumbing, and your mini-cutter will certainly come in handy.
9. Metal File
After cutting pipes and other hardware, you likely have some rough or sharp edges left behind. A metal file can help you smooth them out, so you don't run the risk of cutting yourself unexpectedly. You'll find many different sizes, but there is no need to buy them all. Start with a half-round file, which has both flat and rounded surfaces. A tapered, round rat-tail file is also useful. These two will suffice for most common household plumbing jobs. After that, you can pick and choose other files for specific jobs as needed.
10. Silicone Cartridge Gun
Not all plumbing tasks are related to function; some are aesthetic. Your home likely features caulking in or around sinks, toilets, showers and bathtubs to create watertight seals. Over time, though, those seals can break down, exposing your home to water damage. Also referred to as a caulking gun, a cartridge gun enables you to fill in any gaps or replace the caulking altogether. Wipe the seal with a clean, dry rag before it sets to create a smooth surface.
Get Help with Your Toughest Plumbing Jobs
If you have a plumbing problem that you can't solve on your own, or if you would simply prefer to let the professionals handle it, Tunnel Vision Perth are here to help. Our expert plumbers can clear blocked drains, repair or replace cracked or broken pipes, detect and repair leaks, and more. We have helped countless homeowners in the Greater Perth Metro area and throughout Western Australia, and we will be more than happy to help you, too! Reach out to us today to get started.