This list includes the bare essential plumbing tools that will keep you from having to reach for the phone every time a plumbing issue arises. In some cases, these tools will save you the inconvenience of calling a plumber to deal with a clogged toilet, while one of these tools could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the event of a serious leak.
Here are some valuable tools to pick up the next time you’re at the hardware store to ensure you’re fully equipped. Keep them handy along with the contact information for a local emergency plumber and you’ll be well prepared the next time a plumbing disaster arises.
The most basic plumbing tool everyone should have is a plunger. While this may seem like an obvious answer, what many folks don’t realize is that there are two different types of plungers you’re going to want to have around.
Cup plungers. Cup plungers, are what you likely think of first when you hear the word ‘plunger’. They resemble an oversized suction cup on the end of a stick. What you may not know is that these types of plungers are actually not intended for use on toilets. While it won’t hurt to use a cup plunger in a toilet bowl, these plungers are designed to work on sinks or tubs.
Flange plungers. Flange plungers have longer handles and softer, smaller cups that extend down the bottom. What makes flange plungers different is that they are designed to fit inside a typical toilet drain. They create a much better seal around the drainpipe’s end and apply force more effectively to clear a clog.
Plumbing snakes, often called plumbing or drain augers, are the next tool you’ll want to have in your toolbox, for the difficult clogs that won’t budge after plunging. A plumbing snake is essentially a cable you extend into your drain. This cable has an auger, a drilling device, that works its way through a clog. Once you feel the resistance and push past it, you then reel the snake out to remove the clog.
Just like plungers, there are augers specifically designed for toilets. These toilet augers have a curved rubber or silicone head which allows the cable to reach beyond the bend at the bottom of your toilet without damaging the toiler bowl. Snaking is a rather easy and affordable solution to a drain clog. A drain snake can cost as low as roughly $69 and then climb up in price as you choose longer cords and more advanced engineering. Most homeowners will be able to unclog a drain with a drain snake on their own and in fairly little time. Drain snakes are gentle on your drains so this is the perfect solution for pipes that are older and more fragile
An adjustable pipe wrench is used to loosen and tighten pipes and fittings, or simply grip them to hold them in place. This type of wrench will cause surface damage and so should not be used on surfaces with decorative finishes or where the damage may distract from the aesthetic.
4. A 5-Gallon Bucket
A large 5-gallon bucket is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your home. It can come in handy during a minor leak to catch excess water or in the event, that one of your pipes bursts and you need to haul out larger amounts of water.
5. Plumber’s Putty/Tape
Plumber’s putty is a paste that creates a watertight seal by filling in excess space between connections or fixtures. It can be used on small holes or cracks to temporarily seal these until the pipe can be replaced or fixed by a plumbing professional. Similarly, plumber’s tape, when properly applied, allows a secure, leak-free connection. In addition to helping prevent leaks, Teflon tape also helps prevent pipe connections from seizing up, which makes it much easier to remove them in the future.
6. Washers and O-rings
A set of spare washers and O-rings can save you from leaky faucets and other minor plumbing issues. Drips and leaks are often caused by these parts becoming worn, so simply replacing the washers and/or O-rings renews the seal to stop the drip.
Having these basic plumbing tools for emergency plumbing situations can help you save time, money and allow you to salvage a plumbing issue until a professional can provide a more permanent solution. But don’t count on a quick fix to be the final fix as this can create bigger and more complicated problems in the near future. For plumbing emergencies, don’t hesitate to call your professional plumbers at VIP Sewer and Drain Service 24/7.