The Essential Tools You'll Need For DIY Plumbing

The Essential Tools You'll Need for DIY Plumbing

It never hurts to be prepared by having the tools on hand to deal with any basic updates or repairs around the house. Here are the tools you should consider owning for basic plumbing work.

Basic Plumbing Tools

These tools are the essentials for any homeowner. While you won't be able to solve every plumbing issue with them, you will be able to cover the basics without needing to call the professionals.

  • Locking pliers: I would recommend these over an adjustable spanner, though in most cases they will do the same job. I feel like I get more overall use out of my channel locks.
  • Needle-nose pliers: It's always good to have a pair of these on hand for tight spots and detail work. They can help you grasp on to the smallest parts.
  • Plumbers tape: This is also known as "teflon tape", and it's always good to have a roll in your toolbox. Teflon tape is great for ensuring a good seal on threaded pipes (on faucet supply lines and showerheads, for example.)
  • Plumbers putty: Often used for creating a water-resistant seal on un-pressured joints like sink drains.
  • Basin wrench: This wrench is designed to work in hard-to-reach spaces under a sink.
  • Caulk and caulk gun: There are plenty of reasons to keep caulk around the house, including installing ceramic sinks and repairing seams in showers.

These tools will cover many basic projects. If you think you might be doing more advanced plumbing work, the type of tools you need will depend on the materials used in your house.

Tools For Copper Piping

Soldering pipes can be a little intimidating (it's usually the torch that gets people) but it's a fairly easy process if you have the right tools and understand the principles. As outlined in the video above, some of the tools you might want to keep on hand for copper work include:

  • Tubing cutter
  • Propane torch
  • Fitting brush or emery paper
  • Flux (and brushes)
  • Solder
  • Copper fittings

If you have copper piping in your home but are hesitant to solder joints, here's another option that requires specialised tools and fittings:

Tools For PEX Tubing

PEX is a more recent plumbing material. It's easy to work with, if you have the right tools. The above video explains a few different ways to work with this type of plastic tubing.

Tools For CPVC

These guys have a few tools and techniques for working with CPVC.

Working With Galvanised Pipe

Your house may also have galvanised pipes as a part of your plumbing system. Galvanised pipes were popular before 1960 and are usually connected with threaded fittings. Repairs or remodels done more recently might have copper pipes joined to galvanised (which creates problems down the road due to the reactions between the metals.) Galvanised pipes tend to have corrosion and build-up inside the lines, and while it doesn't hurt to consider replacing galvanised pipe with more recent materials, this guide may help you in working with or repairing them.

As always, the tools you need will depend on the particular project you'd like to complete, but it never hurts to have the basics on hand. What plumbing tools do you keep in your toolbox?

Lifehacker's Workshop column covers DIY tips, techniques and projects.


Comments

    And then after you get it all wrong , call a licenced Master Plumber to put it right.

      Or you get it right and save your self a ton of $$ and don't have to take a day off to wait for a tradie to show up.

    Again, another article for the USA.

    Different here to a great degree with tools and equipment.

    Leave plumbing to the tradesman and electrical work as well, both can kill if you do not know what you are doing.

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