Buying your first home is always exciting. It symbolizes the putting down of roots in a community. Once you’re a homeowner, you have a real stake in the place where you live. To keep your home safe, you’ll need a variety of plumbing tools to help you maintain and occasionally to do repairs on your plumbing system.
So here is a list of basic plumbing tools that any homeowner should have. If you don’t have these, you can acquire them one at a time over time. Our advice is to buy the best quality tool you can afford. Cheap tools break and often don’t perform as they should. Sooner or later you’ll have to replace a cheap tool with a better one, and you’ll end up spending more money in total than you would have by buying a quality tool in the first place. All of these are available at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other hardware retailers.
So here are the plumbing tools every homeowner should have, in no particular order.
Pipe wrenches come in different sizes from small to ridiculously large. Start with a 10-inch and a 14-inch wrench. These should be fine for most home repairs. Later on, you can add an 18-inch if necessary. But bear in mind that if you have a job requiring a larger pipe wrench, you might be better off calling a plumber.
12-inch groove joint pliers (also known as tongue-and-groove pliers) are ideal for gripping irregularly shaped objects. These also come in various sizes, but the 12-inch model is a good starting point. These pliers have long handles for extra leverage. You can adjust the size of the opening without having the handles growing farther apart.
A basin wrench is a self-tightening wrench used to repair and replace old faucets. You could buy a couple in different sizes, or you can get one with a telescoping shank that goes from 10 to 17 inches with a head that adjusts from .75 to 1.75-inches. This wrench is essential for replacing kitchen faucets. You just don’t have room under the sink for other wrenches.
A tubing cutter is ideal for cutting copper pipe. As you turn it around the pipe, you adjust the drag by turning a screw until the tubing is cut through. A tubing cutter is more precise than using a hacksaw and leaves your pipe with smooth edges. If you ever anticipate having to solder copper pipes, you’ll need to have one of these in your tool box.
A drain auger, aka a Snake. Sometimes a plunger just can’t dislodge what’s creating a blockage. That’s the time you’ll want a drain auger. It’s a simple device: it consists of a coiled-up metal cable with a crank that turns and pushes the cable out into the pipe. They come in various sizes and lengths, and you can even get an electric one. We recommend starting with a ¼-inch, 25-foot manual model. This will probably handle 90 percent of your needs.
A toilet plunger. At first we weren’t going to include this on the list because it’s so obvious. Besides, who doesn’t already have one of these? So consider this a reminder. If you can’t find one in your basement or garage or tool shed, you probably loaned it to someone and never got it back! Go buy a new one – they cost less than $10. No house or apartment should be without a toilet plunger. Enough said about that!
A faucet handle puller is designed to remove seized faucet handles from the valve stem. It’s an easy-to-use tool that makes dismantling a faucet a breeze. You can also adjust it to remove a compression sleeve and nut from copper tubing. For about ten bucks, your life will be much easier.
Obviously, this is not a completed list, but it’s a good start. None of the above tools is expensive. You’ll get years of use out of them, and then, when you move into your last condo, you can pass these down to your grandkids.
But for now, be sure to have these on hand. And remember, when your plumbing problems become bigger than your own tool box or knowledge base, it’s time to call in a pro. The Plumbing Source has been making plumbing repairs all across northeast Ohio for more than 30 years.
So call 216-365-0600 for faucet replacements, drain or sewer line cleaning, water heaters, sump pumps and everything in between.
When you call The Plumbing Source, you’ve made the RIGHT call!