When something goes wrong with your plumbing, you don't always have to reach for the phone to call in the pros immediately. With the right tools, you can take care of something as simple as a clog on your own. Doing so will not only save you money, but it will also give you a confidence boost and a little something to brag about.
So, pull out your shopping list and put these handy tools right at the top...
Plumbing Tools You Should Have At Home
- Funnel Cup Plunger: These are the plungers with the extra bit that extends from the bottom of the rubber cup. To get the best plunge, run your plunger under hot water before using it so it won't be so stiff and can better seal over the exit hole (remember, plungers are for more than just toilets — they can also be used in sinks, tubs, showers, and floor drains). Once you have a good seal, give a few good plunges and see if the water clears. If it clears, you're good; if it doesn't, just keep plunging.
- Hand Auger (AKA a "Plumber's Snake" or "Drain Snake"): This is a hand-powered drain-clearing tool with a 25-ft.-long flexible steel cable that can remove clogs from tubs, showers, sinks, and drain lines. You'll want to break this out if several rounds of plunging still don't do the trick to clear your clog. They also make closet augers which work the same way as hand augers, but they're made specifically for toilets.
- Tongue-and-Groove Pliers (Channellocks): These pliers can grab, pull, twist, hold, tighten, or loosen just about anything — they even work on frozen pipes. We suggest you get a 10" pair and a 12" pair just to be sure that you're prepared for anything.
- Basin Wrench: You'll use this bad boy to tighten and loosen nuts that hold sink faucets in place. The way the tool is designed, with a long shaft and swiveling jaw, allows it to reach up and into the area behind your sink where it can then lock onto the nuts. There's really no substitute for a basin wrench, so this one is definitely a must-have for any novice plumber.
- Pipe Wrenches: These heavy-duty wrenches are used for tightening and loosening threaded pipes, fittings, and nuts. You'll need two pairs: a 10" pair and a 14" pair — you'll use one for turning and the other for gripping and holding. These wrenches have serrated teeth which help the wrench grip onto whatever it is you're working with, but it is possible for the teeth to damage what they've latched on to. To keep damage at bay without any loss in grip, wrap the wrench's jaws in a cloth first.
- Hex Key or Allen Wrench set: These are L-shaped wrenches with hexagonal heads, and they come in a TON of different sizes. You'll want a set of them because, more often than not, they're needed to fix stuck garbage disposals.
- Wet/Dry Shop Vac: Last but not least, treat yourself to a shop vac. Shop vacs can suck up pooled water from leaks, can remove water from clogged toilets, tubs, and showers, and can even aid in removing the actual clog! These vacuums are very powerful and can be all kinds of help around the house and garage!
Is your plumbing project beyond a simple loose screw or pesky clog? Schedule service with Ken's Plumbing online — we can solve all your biggest plumbing problems! You can also give us a call at (864) 242-5511 or contact us online to ask any other lingering plumbing questions you may have!