Plumbing Tools

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Many plumbing projects and repairs can be completed with basic hand tools you probably already own. Adding a few simple plumbing tools will prepare you for all the projects in this book.


Many plumbing projects and repairs can be completed with basic hand tools you probably already own. Adding a few simple plumbing tools will prepare you for all the projects in this book. Specialty tools, such as a snap cutter or appliance dolly, are available at rental centers. When buying tools, invest in quality products.
Always care for tools properly. Clean tools after using them, wiping them free of dirt and dust with a soft rag. Prevent rust on metal tools by wiping them with a rag dipped in household oil. If a metal tool gets wet, dry it immediately, and then wipe it with an oiled rag. Keep toolboxes and cabinets organized. Make sure all tools are stored securely.
Caulk gun is designed to hold tubes of caulk or glue. A squeeze handle pushes a steady bead of caulk or glue out of the nozzle.

Flashlight is an indispensable plumber’s helper for inspecting pipes and drain openings.

Circuit tester is an important safety device that allows the user to test for live current in an electrical outlet or appliance.

Ratchet wrench is used for tightening or loosening bolts and nuts. It has interchangeable sockets.

Hacksaw is used for cutting metal. Also can be used for cutting plastic pipes.

Small wire brush has soft brass bristles for cleaning metals without damaging surfaces.

Cold chisel is used with a ball-peen hammer or maul to cut or chip ceramic tile, mortar, or hardened metals.

Utility knife has a sharp blade for cutting a wide variety of materials. Useful for trimming ends of plastic pipes.
Files are used to smooth the edges of metal, wood, or plastic. The round file can be used to remove burrs from the insides of pipes. The flat file is used for all general smoothing tasks.

Screwdrivers include the two most common types: the slotted, and the Phillips.

Adjustable wrench has a movable jaw that permits the wrench to fit a wide variety of bolt heads or nuts.

Channel type pliers have a movable handle that allows the jaws to be adjusted for maximum gripping strength. The insides of the jaws are serrated to prevent slipping.

Needlenose pliers have thin jaws for gripping small objects or for reaching into confined areas.

Putty knife is helpful for scraping putty or caulk from appliances and fixtures.

Ball-peen hammer is made for striking metallic tools, like a cold chisel.

A basin wrench fits into the tight area behind a sink to tighten and loosen the nut on the faucet tailpieces

Tape measure should have a retractable steel blade at least 16 feet long.

Level is used for setting new appliances and checking slope.
Tubing cutter makes straight, smooth cuts in plastic and copper pipe. A tubing cutter usually has a triangular blade for removing burrs from the insides of pipes.

Closet auger is used to clear toilet clogs. It is a slender tube with a crank handle on one end of a flexible auger cable. A special bend in the tube allows the auger to be positioned in the bottom of the toilet bowl. The bend is usually protected with a rubber sleeve to prevent scratching the toilet.

Plastic tubing cutter works like a gardener’s pruners to cut flexible plastic pipes quickly.

Spud wrench is specially designed for removing or tightening large nuts that are 2 to 4" in diameter. Hooks on the ends of the wrench grab onto the lugs of large nuts for increased leverage.

Plunger clears drain clogs with water and air pressure. The force cup (shown) is used for toilet bowls. The flange usually can be folded up into the cup for use as a standard plunger.
Hand auger, sometimes called a snake, is used to clear clogs in drain lines. A long, flexible steel cable is stored in the disk-shaped crank. A pistol-grip handle allows the user to apply steady pressure on the cable.

Blow bag, sometimes called an expansion nozzle, is used to clear drains. It attaches to a garden hose and removes clogs with powerful spurts of water. The blow bag is best used on floor drains.

Propane torch is used for soldering fittings to copper pipes. Light the torch quickly and safely using a spark lighter.

Pipe wrench has a movable jaw that adjusts to fit a variety of pipe diameters. Pipe wrench is used for tightening and loosening pipes, pipe fittings, and large nuts. Two pipe wrenches often are used together to prevent damage to pipes and fittings.
Power hand tools can make any job faster, easier, and safer. Cordless power tools offer added convenience. Use a cordless 3⁄8" power drill for virtually any drilling task.
Rental tools may be needed for large jobs and special situations. A power miter saw makes fast, accurate cuts in a wide variety of materials, including plastic pipes. A motorized drain auger clears tree roots from sewer service lines. Use an appliance dolly to move heavy objects like water heaters. A snap cutter is designed to cut tough cast-iron pipes. The right-angle drill is useful for drilling holes in hard-to-reach areas. From: The Complete Guide to Plumbing, 978-1-58923-378-2



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