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Tackling minor home repairs can be more expensive than you might think. A fully stocked toolbox is just the start. If you don’t have the right tools, even the most minor plumbing job can turn into gushing pipes that need immediate plumbing service. Even with the right tools, there is no substitute for the experience of a professional plumber.
But, if you have a backed-up pipe, a leaky faucet or another minor issue, these 10 tools can help you take care of the problem until you have time to schedule plumbing service.
Filling Your Toolbox
Having the right tools on-hand can make the difference between a completed repair and an emergency call for plumbing service. If you have an extensive toolbox for home repair, some of these tools can help you keep your home water system working while waiting for professional plumbing service.
Every home should have at least one plunger. These hand tools help you quickly dislodge minor clogs, shifting masses of hair or grease plugs when you catch the problem early. If you have a drain that needs regular plunging, you might need a professional plumbing service to help diagnose the issue that leads you to plunging away several times a week.
In any home toolbox, you likely have a wrench or two, but for pipe projects, make sure your array includes basin and adjustable wrenches. Also, have several sizes of each type of wrench. A basin wrench is the right tool to get up and loosen or tighten bolts behind the sink, while an adjustable wrench is best used on supply lines and hexagonal nuts.
3. Pipe Wrench
A pipe wrench gets its own mention because you’ll likely need two of these tools to get the job done. Use one pipe wrench to secure the pipe and the other to get a grip on the fittings. Used together, a pair of pipe wrenches can make it quick and easy to tackle simple plumbing repairs.
4. Pipe Dope or Plumbers Tape
Any time you take off the fittings for a plumbing line or work on a joint, you break the seal. To re-seal these areas, a thorough coating of plumber’s tape, also known as thread seal tape, is a must. Once dry, plumbers tape creates a watertight fit between pipes.
5. Pipe Snake
A hand auger, more commonly known as a pipe snake, is a handy tool for breaking up clogs in your drainage system. It is typically 25-feet long and consists of a flexible steel cable with a variety of head options. If you aren’t experienced with using a pipe snake, schedule plumbing service instead. In the hands of an inexperienced handyman, a pipe snake can do a lot of damage.
Sometimes, the best way to get at a leak and replace the fittings is by installing all-new lengths of pipe. A hacksaw is one of the easiest ways to cut out a problem area to make room for new pipe. Make sure to keep the blade tense for the best cutting action, and only due the hacksaw once you’ve drained the pipes. The last thing you want is an unexpected waterfall when you finally penetrate the pipe wall.
7. Tube Cutter
When you have an exposed end, a tube cutter is a great tool for chopping pipe into the right lengths. It slides on the end of the pipe and a simple twisting action cuts right through copper pipes. Available in both standard and mini sizes, this tool can fit into extremely tight spaces, helping to change out pipes in even the most compact spaces.
8. Pipe Threader
After cutting the pipe, you have a clean, smooth shaft, all the way to the end. That means you can’t attach any fittings or joints without a little help from a pipe threader. These manual or electric tools quickly add threads to the end of a pipe. Load up the head, crank it around, and watch as it carves new threads cleanly into your copper piping.
9. Tongue and Groove Pliers
Also known as channel lock pliers, a set of tongue and groove pliers lets you get a grip on oddly shaped objects, like a variety of nuts and bolts. Smaller than wrenches, these hand tools can fit into almost any space, and come in a wide range of sizes.
10. Plumbers Torch
For the experienced home repairman, a plumbers torch can be a great addition to the toolbox. With one of these available, you can heat up stubborn pipes, solder when necessary and even create brazed pipe joints.
When to Call the Professionals for Plumbing Service at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain
While it is important to have a toolkit that can help you remediate plumbing problems quickly, your home water system is a critical part of your home infrastructure and needs regular, professional plumbing service. Hidden leaks can damage walls, add to drafts and present a health hazard, promoting the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Water-using appliances often come with warranties, but those protection programs may be voided if the appliance isn’t installed and serviced by a licensed professional.
If you have a drain that clogs up regularly, a leak in a pipe or notice a performance change with any of your appliances, contact us for plumbing service. At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, our licensed plumbers can diagnose and repair most issues, same day. For more extensive repairs, you get a service plan that details when and how the repairs are handled, allowing you to prioritize your safety and schedule repairs around your calendar.
Schedule plumbing service on our website or give us a call at 1-844-HOP-TO-IT.