There’s no substitute for a licensed plumber but being able to do some DIY plumbing can save you money on minor repairs or in an emergency. These tools are the best to have on hand to get started with basic plumbing around your home.
Pipe wrench. You should plan on two pipe wrenches. These wrenches are used for tasks where you need leverage, such as removing rusted old fittings. Use one wrench to stabilize your work and the other to turn. You might also consider keeping a few old rags with these wrenches to use for wrapping pipes and fixtures before you begin, protecting them from scratches.
Basin wrench. The spring-loaded clamping jaw of a basin wrench makes it the perfect tool for gripping and turning bolts and fasteners in tight places such as underneath a kitchen sink.
Adjustable wrench. Adjustable wrenches do most of the work for basic DIY plumbing tasks such as replacing faucets or showerheads. They are inexpensive, so it’s handy to have a few in multiple sizes.
Tongue and groove pliers. The slip-joint design of these pliers allows the jaw to grab wider things and they usually have long handles that make them useful for turning, tightening and loosening. This is another tool where you might want to protect your fixtures before using to prevent scratching.
Plumber’s putty. Plumber’s putty forms a watertight seal, avoiding leaks and holding parts into place.
Plumber’s tape. A common, but frustrating plumbing problem is a leaky, threaded joint, such as that which connects a showerhead to a pipe. Wrap a few layers of plumber’s tape, clockwise, around clean, dry threads. When you screw your fixture on, the tape will help form a watertight seal.
Plunger. A clogged drain in a sink or toilet is the most common household plumbing problem you are likely to encounter. Be sure to have one in your bathroom right where you need it. Be sure to check out proper technique.
Toilet auger. For more stubborn clogs, a toilet auger can be your next line of defense. A hand-crank toilet auger can extend a long cable to break up obstructions. But, be sure to take your time and read the instructions! Used too aggressively, a toilet auger can damage your toilet—everything from simple scratches to even breaking it outright. But, with proper use, it can be an easy, cheap alternative to an expensive service call.
Having these tools on hand can help prevent an expensive emergency call to a plumber. But, if you run into a problem that you can’t fix on your own, be sure to call your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing at (800) 259-7705!