“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Surprised that a plumbing blog is starting off with a quote from one of the Founding Fathers of the United States? Well, as you’ll see throughout this blog, this quote from Benjamin Franklin can easily be applied to many walks of life. Whether that be advancing in one’s career, learning a new skill, becoming a DIY aficionado or anything else, it’s a great mindset to live by!
In this week’s blog post, we’re going to examine how being “prepared” can easily be the difference between a quick plumbing repair and a major plumbing project! For anyone that’s experienced a plumbing emergency, you know things can get out of hand in no time. With this in mind, we’re going to walk you through the various plumbing tools every Kansas City homeowner should have in their homes! While they won’t prevent plumbing issues from ever occurring in the first place, they will go a long way in limiting the damage and allowing you to have the time to get a plumber out to take a look.
Basic Plumbing Tools
We’ll start off by discussing some of the basic plumbing tools that EVERY homeowner should have on hand. If you don’t already have at least one of each of these, we recommend heading to Home Depot or Lowe’s and stocking up!
You can’t have a blog about household plumbing tools without mentioning the plunger first. Some might argue that a plunger isn’t an actual tool, but rather more of a safety product. After all, it’s primary purpose is intended to prevent water from rising out of the toilet bowl. It is an essential item to have and one you’ll be glad you have handy when there’s a clogged toilet!
On that note, there is a common mistake we recognize amongst residential homeowners each and every year. This mistake revolves around having the correct plungers! There are actually four types of plungers, but we’ll focus on the two most prevalent ones here. First, you have a “cup plunger.” This is certainly the more popular of the two and the one that is likely in 95% of homes. A cup plunger is intended for drains that rest on a flat surface, so primarily sinks or tubs. Meanwhile, the second type of plunger is called a “flange plunger.” Surprisingly to most, the flange plunger is the one designed for toilets or drains with curved surfaces. It features a curved flap below where the standard cup shape is. This allows the individual to create a seal in these tight spaces and ultimately clear the clog.
The best rule of thumb for plungers is to have one of each in every home! This way, you’re not mixing and matching them, and can ensure you have a tool for any type of clog. Just remember, plungers are not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
As many would expect, toilet repair is consistently one of our most common residential service calls we receive each and every year. If you would like to learn more about our individual services, check them out on our Toilet Repairs page.
Next up we have a flexible tool that can be useful in a wide variety of home improvement projects and that is duct tape! No, duct tape should never be considered as a permanent solution to a pipe leak, but it certainly can be viewed as a stop-gap solution!
Take this scenario for example: You notice a leak in a pipe that’s slowly letting out water. Upon finding the leak, you immediately call your local plumber and they’re going to have an emergency plumber to you within an hour or two. How can you best bridge the gap between now and then? For one, make sure to turn off the main water shut-off if it’s a serious issue. However, if you don’t know where the water shut-off is or simply need a temporary fix, remember that most duct tape is in fact water-resistant. While I would never recommend keeping duct tape on there for more than a few hours, it can serve as that short-term fix and buy you some time!
A must-have for any DIY enthusiast is a caulking gun. Everyone has seen the caulking around a shower or bathtub start to crack slightly over time. Unless, it’s progressed into a serious issue, this can be a DIY project any homeowner can handle with ease. To ensure it looks quality and not like a spot fix, pick up a reliable caulking gun from your local hardware store.
Intermediate Plumbing Tools
In the section above, we primarily focused on those basic plumbing tools that are meant to limit disasters from occurring. Without having those on-hand, you can easily have a minor leak develop into massive repair bills. More often than not, each of those are meant for patch-work repairs while you wait for a licensed plumber to arrive.
Our next section will be centered on those homeowners who are a little more ambitious when it comes to DIY plumbing. These are still good tools for everyone to have available, but unless you’re completely confident in using them, we’d recommend leaving these repairs up to a pro!
Pipe Wrench and Adjustable Wrench
When you think of a wrench set, the first thing that comes to mind is typically an adjustable wrench. It can be used in a number of home improvement projects and for plumbing purposes, is the perfect tool for loosening nuts and bolts. Meanwhile, a pipe wrench is a little more advanced and designed for removing, replacing, tightening or loosening hard-to-grip pipes. Not that you’ll necessarily need either of these more than a few times in any given year, but they are certainly useful tools to have available if an emergency were to strike!
As mentioned above, a plunger isn’t always the perfect solution for clearing a clogged toilet. Yes, it can serve as a temporary solution and prevent water from spilling over to the bathroom floor, but it doesn’t always completely get the job done! In these instances, it’s good to have an auger somewhere in the house. You will notice the prices vary based on manufacturer and durability. However, the snake-like design of an auger can work wonders in clearing clogs!
One final item to add to your toolbox are a pair of long-nosed pliers, as well as tongue and groove pliers. When it comes to plumbing, there’s always going to be hard-to-reach spots where you may need to remove a nut or bolt. Long-nosed pliers will definitely help with that and can also be useful if you need to pull up a small clog of grow hair or anything else that may be stuck! On the flipside, tongue and groove pliers are perfect for all of twisting, grabbing and loosening that comes with plumbing. They have adjustable serrated jaws capable of gripping various applications.
Call Stine-Nichols Plumbing!
How many of these plumbing tools do you currently have in your home? If you’re lacking a few of them, there’s no need to worry. You shouldn’t have trouble finding any of these tools at your local hardware store and nearly all of them are rather inexpensive. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (816) 348-3481 if you have any questions on which brands you should be looking for!
With all of this said, we hope you’re feeling more confident in knowing what to do if a plumbing issue were to pop up! While having these tools won’t necessarily make you immune to plumbing problems, they will ensure small leaks don’t develop into major headaches! Remember, with most of these items, they’re more than capable of serving as a short-term fix to buy you some time in getting a local plumber out to take a look.
If you live in the Kansas City area or any of the surrounding cities, Stine-Nichols Plumbing would be happy to lend a hand on your next plumbing project. Whether it’s something as small as unclogging a drain or as complex as a sewer line replacement, we have a plumber for you! Fill out the form HERE or give us a call at (816) 348-3481 to get started!