Tools to Keep Handy

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To do any job right, you need the right tools and materials—and plumbing is certainly no exception. Shown here are most of the basics, other than everyday items such as a flashlight.

Here’s a list of some miscellaneous items you’ll want to keep on hand to hold things together in an emergency: sheets of foam rubber, a length of old hose, automotive hose clamps, assorted faucet washers, O-rings, wire coat hangers, and a variety of nuts, bolts, and metal washers. Specialized tools for particular types of pipe are shown here.



Slot and Phillips screwdrivers, common household tools, are essential for fixing leaking faucets and making other repairs. Adjustable-end wrench has smooth jaws made to fit small nuts, bolts, and square and hexagonal fittings. Pipe wrench, or monkey wrench, has toothed jaws designed to grip pipe. Spud wrench, wide and toothless, adjusts to fit large nuts on toilets and sinks. Basin wrench allows easy access to nuts behind sinks and other hard-to-reach places. Rib-joint pliers, or slip-jaw pliers, open wide enough to re move drain traps. Plunger, also called a plumber’s helper, dislodges clogs using alternate pressure and suction. Funnel-cup type shown is designed for toilets; it folds flat for drains. Snake, or drain-and- trap auger, stretches 10 to 20 feet to re move deep blockages in a drain. Closet auger, a 3 to 6-foot tool with a crank handle, unclogs toilets; it works like a snake but has a protective housing to prevent scratching the bowl. Valve seat wrench, with one end square and the other hexagonal, removes worn or damaged valve seats. Valve seat dresser grinds and smooths faulty non-replaceable valve seats in old faucets. Pipe joint compound, available in cans, tubes, and sticks, is used to lubricate, seal, and protect pipe threads when pipe and fittings are being assembled.



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Updated: Monday, December 13, 2010 13:11