The Essential Tools You’ll Need for DIY Plumbing

Illustration for article titled The Essential Tools You Need For DIY Plumbing

It never hurts to be prepared, and while you never know the challenges a home can face, it’s good to have the tools on hand to make a basic update or repair. Here are the tools you should have on hand for basic plumbing jobs.

ON “basic toolbox“Because a homeowner can be made up of dozens of tools, depending on the type of projects you’re tackling. A good idea is to break down basic tools by task – plumbing, electrical, painting, drywall, etc. – and then by type The work you expect at home will help you determine which tools are most important.These are the tools I would recommend for basic plumbing.

Basic plumbing tools

These tools are essential for any homeowner. While you won’t be able to use them to solve every installation problem, you can cover the basics: change a faucet, install a new sink or change a shower head.

  • Collet: I would recommend these over an adjustable wrench, although for the most part they do the same job. I feel like I can make better use of my channel locks overall.
  • 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 the smallest parts.
  • Plumbing tape: This is also known as “Teflon tape” and it is always good to have a roll in your tool box. Teflon tape is ideal for a good seal on threaded pipes (e.g. on faucet supply lines and shower heads).
  • Plumber putty: Often used to create a waterproof seal on non-pressurized joints such as sink drains.
  • Cymbal key: This wrench is designed for hard-to-reach places under a sink.
  • Caulking and Cartridge Gun: There are many reasons to caulk your home, install ceramic sinks, and repair seams in showers, just a few.

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While these tools cover many basic projects, if you think you are doing more advanced installation work, the type of tools you will need will depend on the materials used in your home.

Tools for copper pipes

Soldering pipes can be a little intimidating (it’s usually the torch that draws people in), but it’s a pretty straightforward process if you have the right tools and understand the principles. As illustrated in the video above, some of the tools you may want to have handy for copper work include:

  • Hose cutter
  • Propane burner
  • Matching brush or sandpaper
  • Flux (and brushes)
  • Lot
  • Copper fittings

If you have copper tubing at home but are just reluctant to solder connections, here’s another option that requires special tools and fittings:

Tools for PEX hoses

PEX is a newer installation material. It’s easy to work with when you have the right tools. The video above explains a few different ways to work with this type of plastic tubing.

Tools for CPVC

These people have a few tools and techniques for working with CPVC. While newer homes use PEX, you can see CPVC on homes that were built or remodeled about ten years ago.

Working with galvanized pipe

Your home may also have galvanized pipes as part of your plumbing system. Galvanized pipes were popular before 1960 and are usually connected with threaded connections. In recent repairs or conversions, copper tubing may have been connected to galvanized tubing (which later creates problems due to the reactions between the metals). Galvanized tubing has a tendency to cause corrosion and buildup in the plumbing, and while this doesn’t hurt to consider replacing galvanized tubing with newer materials, these instructions can help you with work or repair.

As always, the tools you need will depend on the particular project you’re trying to complete, but it never hurts to have the basics on hand. What plumbing tools do you have in your tool box?

Workshop is a new blog from Lifehacker dedicated to DIY tips, techniques, and projects. Follow us on Twitter here.

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