Knowing how to handle your own leaks and clogs is a valuable skill, and one that will save you money on plumber's bills. Here are a few plumbing tools every DIY plumber should have. With these in your toolkit, you should be able to handle most minor emergencies.
Wrenches: You can never have too many wrenches. For undoing fittings, you'll need at least two -- one to grasp the pipe with and one to turn the fitting. You should already have standard adjustable wrenches in several sizes. Locking pliers can also be an alternative if your pipes are narrow enough for the pliers to grasp.
Your plumbing supplies should include some specialised wrenches as well. The Stillson wrench, or pipe wrench, is a heavy locking wrench used to grasp pipe fittings. It has extremely strong jaws and should not be used on PVC or copper or other soft metal pipes.
A basin wrench is an invaluable tool for working under sinks: its long shaft enables you to easily reach up under faucets and undo their fittings. A basin wrench will save you infinite amounts of stress, strain, and bleeding knuckles.
Plungers and Drain Unblockers: If you've got a clog, these should be your first recourse, not drain-clearing chemicals. Besides being bad for the environment, chemicals can also be bad for your pipes. If you've got a clog that a plunger can't shift -- whether too tough or too deep down -- a drain unblocker will be a valuable adjunct. Its flexible steel line can dig deep in a pipe and burrow through even hardened clogs.
Pipe Tools: Cutting and fitting pipes is advanced work, but the right plumbing tools can make it much easier. A plain hacksaw can be used for cutting and trimming pipes, but a good pipe cutter is easier to use, especially in small spaces. A pipe cutter will also make a straighter, cleaner cut.
Once you have your pipe cut, you'll need to clean and deburr its edges and interior. This is best accomplished with a small metal file, steel pipe cleaning brush, or reamer. If you've got copper pipes, you can try soldering them yourself. Brush the end of the pipe to be soldered with plumbing flux, fit the joint together, and heat it with a small propane torch, then apply lead-free solder until the joint is sealed.
No matter how simple or complex your job, having the right tools is the first step to getting everything done. The next time you go through your toolbox, take a moment to think about how well equipped you are in terms of plumbing supplies!
Screwfix is the UK's largest direct and online supplier of trade tools, accessories and hardware products. With over 30 years' experience in the industry, we despatch tens of thousands of parcels every week for next day and weekend delivery to tradesmen, handymen and serious DIY enthusiasts all over the UK.
To view our range of plumbing tools customers can visit the Screwfix website.