Essential Tools for the Home Plumber

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 22, 2022)

As with any type of job, plumbing requires that you have the proper tools to get the job done. In order to get those essential tools for the home plumber, you need to know what they are. Here is a list of those tools, as well as a brief explanation of why you will need them. Considering that some of these tools can be a tad expensive initially (the propane torch costs at most around $60), you may want to slowly build your collection up over time.

  • Plunger. The plunger is probably the most indispensable tool that a plumber can have. It will help with toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and floor drains. Basically this is the first tool that someone will grab in any plumbing emergency, and the most commonly used.
  • Adjustable wrenches. Adjustable wrenches are another tool that the home plumber must have on hand if they are planning on doing any type of repair work. The reason for this is that an adjustable wrench can help work on things like compression fittings, supply lines, and so forth. Basically all it needs is a hex shaped nut and you are good to go. Ideally you should have two different sizes, one six inches, and the other ten inches.
  • Snake. The snake(also known as a hand auger) is a hand cranked tool that is used to clear drains of difficult clogs. Typically all you will need is one that is about 25 feet long, and you can work on most clogs in the home. It may be beneficial to also purchase another type of auger, called a closet auger, which is designed to work specifically with toilets; it never hurts to have specialized tools after all.
  • Teflon tape. If you are thinking of removing any faucets, shower heads, or even piping, you should have some Teflon tape on hand. This tape is extremely easy to apply, and will help create a water and air tight seal to keep any water in. In addition, you can often simply apply a bit of this material to a leaky area to fix most leaks.
  • Channel lock pliers. Channel lock pliers, also known as tongue and groove pliers, can be used on just about any kind of plumbing fixture. This alone makes them an extremely effective and sought after tool. Furthermore, it is often a good idea to get more than one, since they work best in pairs.
  • Tubing cutter. Copper pipe is a fairly common plumbing material, and if you find yourself needing to do any cutting then you will want to have the right tool on hand. A tubing cutter clamps onto the pipe (where you want it), and allows you to spin around and create a flat cut. Definitely a huge help when you want to have a quickly cut, well fitted joint.
  • Propane torch. This tool is an absolute must have if you have any copper pipes or fittings in your home. The reason for that is this tool will allow you to easily sweat the pipes and fittings. You may want to have a self igniting torch, instead of needing to have a striker or matches in your tool box as well.
  • Hacksaw. A hacksaw can be extremely helpful when you find it time to cut through piping (metal or PVC), screws, nuts, hardware, bolts, and so on. Just make sure that you have the blade nice and tight in the frame, and that you have at least two or three extra blades on hand.
  • Metal file. If you end up having to cut some piping, then you should have a file to smooth out the rough edges. A metal file will (though two is often better) will allow you to remove the burs and gnarls that crop up when cutting, and create difficulties when trying to reseal pipes later on.
  • A good plumber's number. In the event that you can't solve the problem (whatever it is) yourself, you will need to call a plumber. It is a good idea to have that number ahead of time rather than waiting for an emergency to crop up.

Keep in mind that these are only the most essential of all plumbing tools that you must have in your plumbing tool box. There are of course dozens, if not hundreds, of tools that you could purchase, but you really don't need to. These few items are what you absolutely need to have before you can begin tackling your home plumbing needs.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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