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Must-Have Plumbing Tools for Every Home Handywoman

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 3:49pm

Take a look at your toolbox. You probably have a hammer and nails, a screwdriver set, measuring tape, and other basic tools at the ready for home repairs. But what about tools for plumbing problems? With just a few items from the hardware store, you’ll be equipped to handle clogs, leaks, and loose pipes. Of course, you should also have the phone number of a professional plumber in Longview to take on bigger jobs and plumbing emergencies.


When it comes to unclogging drains, plungers aren’t one-size-fits-all. Your home should include a flange plunger for toilets and a cup plunger for sinks, showers, and tubs. If you keep a cup plunger by your toilet—the standard red rubber plunger you see everywhere—it’s little better than decoration. A cup plunger is designed for flat surfaces and will not maintain suction in a toilet bowl, unlike a flange plunger. For tough toilet clogs, you may want an accordion plunger as well.


Plungers don’t always do the trick, which is why augers come in handy. An auger, also commonly called a plumber’s snake, is a hand-cranked flexible steel cable that effectively clears obstructions from all types of drains. For toilets, you may want a closet auger. This tool is specially designed for unclogging toilets, using a shorter auger and a hook-shaped tube to reach and clear the trap. Closet augers also have plastic or rubber tips to prevent any metal from scratching the porcelain.


Pliers are versatile tools that can be used for grabbing, loosening, tightening, holding, twisting, pulling, clamping, and much more. If you need to remove a nut, turn a bolt, or grip an oddly shaped fixture, you’ll want a slip-joint plier. Tongue-and-groove pliers, in particular, are good for plumbing work. This type of slip-joint plier has serrated, adjustable jaws that can widen or narrow as needed. Tongue-and-groove pliers also have long handles that allow for better leverage and reach.

Plumber’s Tape

A roll of plumber’s tape will ensure a good seal on threaded pipes, which are often used for showerheads and water supply lines. Plumber’s tape is easy to use: You simply wrap it around the pipe’s thread before screwing the pipe into place. This tape both lubricates the pipe and seals the joint, making it easier to tighten and to seat the threads securely.


It’s no surprise that a pipe wrench is a must-have plumbing tool. This heavy-duty wrench is ideal for tightening and loosening threaded pipes, as well as their nuts, bolts, and fittings. When shopping for this tool, be sure to get two—one for gripping the pipe and another for turning. A basin wrench is also necessary for DIY plumbing. Thanks to its long handle and moveable jaws, a basin wrench lets you get around and behind sinks to install or fix faucets.

These are just a few essential tools to get you started. For more advanced plumbing projects, like installing new fixtures, you may also want to add a hacksaw, plumbing caulk, metal files, and even a propane torch to your arsenal. Call a professional Longview Plumber.

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