10 essential plumbing tools every toolbox should have

July 11, 2016

Planning a DIY plumbing project? Feeling anxious if a simple plumbing problem were to strike? Before tackling a leaky pipe or clogged drain, make sure your toolbox is stocked with these 10 essential plumbing tools.

10 essential plumbing tools every toolbox should have

Homeowners face common plumbing problems every day. While some plumbing issues are complex and require an expert hand and specialized tools, some mishaps are simpler: leaky pipes, clogged sinks, or plugged-up toilets can be turned into DIY jobs. However, before you can dive into your plumbing project, it’s important to be prepared. Here are 10 essential plumbing tools that you should always keep in your toolbox.

1. Basin wrench

A basin wrench is a staple for any plumber’s toolbox.

  • Used to tighten and loosen nuts on sink faucets, the basin wrench has a long shaft and a swivel, clamp-like apparatus at the end.
  • It can go into deep, narrow spaces behind sinks in order to reach the faucet bolts.

2. Adjustable wrench

An adjustable wrench is perfect for compression fittings, supply lines, and other plumbing parts that have hexagonal-shaped nuts.

  • Quality adjustable wrenches have a firm jaw setting that won’t slip while you work.
  • You should get both six-inch and 10-inch adjustable wrenches for your toolbox.

3. Pipe wrench

Often larger than the adjustable wrench, the pipe wrench is a heavy tool that tightens and loosens fittings and nuts.

  • Two pipe wrenches will be needed, as one is used to turn, and one is used to grip and hold during your project.
  • Be sure to wrap the wrench’s jaw in cloth to avoid damage to your fixtures’ finishes.

4. Tongue-and-groove pliers

To grab, twist, pull, hold, tighten, or loosen something, make sure your toolbox has a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers.

  • This versatile tool is a type of slip-joint plier with serrated jaws that are set about 45 to 60 degrees from the handles, giving it a curved appearance.

5. Hacksaw

With a hacksaw, you will be able to cut through metal and plastic pipes, screws, nuts and bolts, and other hardware as needed.

  • Be sure to keep extra blades in your toolbox in case the hacksaw’s blade grows dull or breaks.
  • When handling tough cuts, make sure the blade is tense for easier use.

6. Metal file

Smooth the edges of cut metal pipes with a metal file.

  • There are different file sizes, and it's recommend that you have a half-round file and a rat-tail file in your plumbing toolbox.
  • Half-round files have rounded and flat surfaces, while a rat-tail file is round and tapered.

7. Thread seal tape

Also known as plumber’s tape or PTFE tape, thread seal tape helps prevent leaks at threaded plumbing joint connections.

  • This tape is inexpensive and can be used for a number of plumbing projects. Use it on shower heads or water line connections.

8. Hand auger

When a plunger can’t handle a clog, try a hand auger.

  • A hand auger uses a hand crank to push a metal wire through the drains of tubs, showers, or sinks in order to clear them of clogs.
  • A hand auger should not be used on flush toilets — instead, use a toilet or closet auger to do the job.

9. Tubing cutter

An essential plumbing tool to have in your toolbox, a tubing cutter cuts copper pipes.

  • It will ensure smooth and even cuts every time. Consider purchasing both a standard tubing cutter as well as a mini-cutter. The mini-cutter is great for tight, hard-to-reach places.

10. Toilet plungers (flange and cup)

Plungers are essential for any household, and it's a good idea to have both flange and cup plungers on hand.

  • A flange plunger is shaped to clear clogs in toilets, while a cup plunger clears clogs in sinks, tubs, and showers.

Be prepared for that next plumbing project!

Small plumbing issues like leaky pipes and clogged drains happen each day in homes across Canada. A well-stocked toolbox of essential tools means you'll be prepared to handle just about any simple plumbing problem that comes your way.

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