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The Full Guide of Plumbing Materials and The Must-Have Plumbing Tools

Some homeowners prefer to fix their water heater, change their faucets, and do other plumbing tasks. While it is a good thing to do these tasks by yourself, you should also include some game-changing tools and materials before you start. In this complete guide, you will discover and learn many plumbing tools and materials that are worth having at home.

Plumbing Pipe Materials

There are some essential plumbing materials that you need in case you need to replace damaged plumbing materials. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Plumbing Pipes

There are different types of pipes; some are metal, while some are plastic. The function of each pipe differs, the same as the quality. Your preference and budget will determine the type of pipe you will buy. Below is a list of some of the plumbing pipes you should have at home.

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Piping (CPVC)

plumbing materials - PVC pipes

The CPVC is a durable, fire-resistant plastic pipe with radical chlorination that increases chlorine content when you use it for piping drinking water. Moreover, it is smoother, flexible, and less noisy when water flows, making it suitable for drinking water. However, it could split when frozen.

Copper Pipes

round copper pipes

This type of plumbing pipe has been in use for more than 50 years because of its ability to resist heat and leaks. It is considered one of the safest pipes for drinking water because of its anti-rust ability. Moreover, its use is not limited to piping drinking water alone, and you can also use it for refrigerant lines. However, copper pipes are not what you can buy if you have a low budget.

PEX Pipes

PEX pipe

The PEX pipes are one of the latest innovations in plumbing technology. It is similar to a hose because it is also flexible. Its main advantage is that you can use it with existing pipes. Moreover, it could resist heat and freeze. Though it is easy to install, it requires special tools like the PEX pipe expander and fittings.

Brass Pipe

brass pipes

The brass pipe is a soft metal that can withstand rust and heat. However, lead could be a problem with a brass pipe if you use it for piping drinking water, especially if you do not buy the lead-free pipe.

Stainless Steel Pipe

stainless steel pipes

The stainless steel pipe is the ideal pipe you need if you live in a coastal environment or other areas where metals could quickly get rusty. The pipe contains biochemical materials and is rust-resistant. However, it is costly.

Cast Iron Pipes

cast iron pipes

Though no longer in vogue, the cast irons are likely that you have at home if your house was built in the ’70s. These pipes are suitable in areas with high pressure, easy to rust, and require frequent maintenance.

Pipe Fittings

In a situation where you need to join a pipe to form another angle, you need a pipe fitting to make it easier. They are usually in different sizes and are made from different types of materials. Make sure each fitting is compatible with the material of the pipe you want to use it for. Below are some of the common types of pipe fittings and pipes.

Coupling and Unions

In connecting a piece of pipe or tubing, you will need a perfect size of couplings and unions. It is usually short in design. With the use of bolt and nut, you can use coupling for a permanent purpose, while unions are designed for easier removal when you intend to do so.

Elbows

plumbing elbow

This plumbing tool is also known as ells. Though other angles are available, they are usually designed in 45 or 90-degree bends. An elbow is used to change the direction of pipes. A typical example is one that extends from the wall in your bathroom to where the showerhead is joined.

Tees, Wyes, and Crosses.

These materials are used to join or split pipes. The design of each material suggests the name. Tees and wyes have 90 and 45-degree angles, and they usually have one input and two outputs, while crosses usually have one input and three outputs that intersect at 90 degrees.

Caps and Plugs

These two perform the same function (creating a dead end) but in different ways. A cap is used over the end of a pipe, while a plug is used at the end of a pipe system.

Essential Plumbing Tools You Should Along Your Best Plumbing Material

You cannot fix a plumbing problem in your home if you do not have the right tools and the best plumbing materials to aid the task. Some tools in this list can be used for many different purposes and industries, while others are predominantly plumbing. Below is a list of some of the plumbing tools you should have at home.

Wrenches

You cannot complete a plumbing task successfully without wrenches. There are several wrenches, and they come in different sizes and shapes and serve different purposes. Highlighted below are some of the essential wrenches that we recommend that you should have as a modern homeowner.

Basin Wrench

basin wrench

This is a tool that is used specifically for tightening and loosening non-working faucets. It is usually in T-shape, and its clamp-like mechanism makes it easier to reach tiny spaces. This is a tool you can’t do without as a homeowner.

Pipe Wrench

pipe wrench

This is a tool used to tighten and loosen nuts on pipework. It is the largest on the plumbers’ wrenches tool, and it comes in different lengths. You can have as many as possible at home, and you can have the essential set. The use of any depends on the size of the pipe you are working on. The pipe wrench is used in pairs, where you use one to hold the pipe, and the other one will be used to either loosen or tighten the nut.

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench dewalt

You use this tool on hexagonal nuts and other fittings on the pipe, just like the pipe wrench. It also comes in different sizes, but it is recommended that you have the 6 and 10 inches at home.

Strap Wrench 

strap wrench

You use this type of wrench to grip objects with the use of a strap, and it holds firmly. The use of friction prevents the object from slipping. For a firm grip of the wrench, strap wrenches usually have handles.

Spanner

spanner wrench

This is a tool that you can use to grip and turn any nut or bolt. It is usually in different shapes and designs, but the most common shape is the open-ended and ring spanner.

Plier

plier 1

This is similar to the spanner in function, but plumbers use it more to grip and turn an irregular nut and bolt, irregularly shaped objects, and clamping materials that are too small for a wrench to grip. It is also known as arc-joint pliers, multi grips, tongue and groove pliers, etc.

Faucet Key

faucet key

This is not a traditional wrench, but you cannot do without the faucet key as a homeowner. It is usually designed in an X shape, different models, and it is used to close and open spigots and sillcocks.

Tools for Clearing Clogs

At times, the problem might not be from the pipe. It could be what is inside the pipe. You don’t have to necessarily break a pipe before you fix the clogs in it. With the right tool, you should decongest your pipe and see it running smoothly again. Below is the list of some of the clearing clogs tools you should have at home.

Hand Auger

hand auger

The hand auger technology has evolved over the years, and there are various models on the market now. You can get any of it, depending on your budget and the nature of the clog you want to clear. It is a handheld device that is circular in design. It allows you to drive a cable down the pipe to clear and break any blockage in the pipe.

Snake Machine

snake machine

This serves as the automatic version of the hand auger. It is usually larger and clears difficult clogs that a hand auger cannot clear.

Plungers

plunger

This is an essential tool that you should have at home. It is a stick that is attached to a rubber suction cup. It is also known as a force cup that is used for clearing blockages in drains and pipes.

Drain Rods

drain rod

This type of drainage clearing tool cannot be used alone. You can use it on different types of tools, such as chimney brushes and many more. It is usually used to clear blockage around the perimeter of a blocked drain or pipe.

Plumbing Pipe Tools

Working around pipes is the most prominent part of plumbing work. There are varieties of tools you can use to remove, repair, or fix pipes in your home. Below are some of the essential pipework tools you should have at home.

Press Fitting Systems

Press Fitting Systems 2

One of the most critical parts of working with pipes is how to securely connect pipes. To save you time and money, press-fitting systems will connect pipes, making them inseparable.

Plastic Pipe Cutter

Plastic Pipe Cutter

If you need to work around copper or plastic pipes, you will need a tube and plastic pipe cutter to either remove, resize or replace the pipes. There are many models and types of tubes and plastic cutters on the market. You can get any depending on your budget and preference.

Hacksaw

hacksaw

The use of saws is not limited to carpenters alone. You will need saws for plumbing tasks, such as cutting pipes. Nevertheless, you should be careful with it and ensure that you securely keep it when it is not in use.

Thread Sealing Tape

Thread Sealing Tape

In a situation where there is leakage on the pipe, joints, or tanks, you can use thread sealing tape. Quality thread sealing tape would work irrespective of the temperature, and it never dries out.

Plumbers’ Torch

Plumbers' Torch

You cannot solder a pipe without heat, especially copper pipes. The plumbers’ torch is a small, manual tool that you must have as a homeowner. It allows you to apply heat at the exact place where it is needed on the pipe, either for installing new pipes or fixing existing pipes.

Pipe Bender

pipe bender

A pipe bender is used to bend different types of pipe, especially plumbing pipes, in different directions around obstacles instead of fitting them. Using a pipe bender is cheaper, and it reduces the risk of having leaking joints in the future.

Pipe Cutter

Pipe Cutter

This is a tool that is used as an alternative to a hacksaw for either cutting or slicing pipes. It is safer, easier, faster, and more convenient, and it cuts neatly.

Pipe Threader

Pipe Threader

Cutting grooves into the end of a pipe is easier with a pipe threader. Have you ever wondered how the shape of traditional screws is formed? The pipe threader serves the same function. It allows you to securely fasten pipes together easily and quickly with the use of screws.

Pipe Deburrers

Pipe Deburrer

When you cut a pipe, the pipe will likely have rough edges. The pipe deburrers allow you to smoothen the rough edges and holes on a pipe so that it can fit perfectly for the intended purpose.

Pipe Vices

Pipe Vice

You will likely experience difficulties holding down a pipe when you are cutting it. With pipe vices, you can securely hold down a pipe when you are cutting or threading it. This tool is usually mounted on a stand, and it can hold a small pipe of 3mm or a large pipe of 200mm.

Plumbing Test Equipment

Ascertaining the precise location of a problem is the first step before you think of the right tools for fixing such a problem. Some tools can aid you when you want to identify the location of leaks or blockages. Highlighted below are some of the test tools you should have as a homeowner.

Manometer

Manometer

In a situation where the pressure of your water suddenly drops, and you cannot easily ascertain the reason why it occurred, a manometer will easily identify what is wrong. It is a U-shaped device that is filled with either mercury or water, and it can easily identify potential leakage in pipes by checking the pressure.

Pressure Test Pump

Pressure Test Pump

If you have cause to cut or join any pipe together during the installation of new pipes or repair works, you need to be sure that you have done the right thing. A pressure pump will test the quality of your work, especially joint edges.

Plumbing Safety Tools

Though plumbing does not seem risky, you should, however, take precautions when you want to do any task. Therefore, you need to make safety your priority. There are some plumbing safety tools you should have as a homeowner who intends to do some DIY on a plumbing task at home. The use of any of these tools will depend on the nature and location of the job. Below are some of the safety tools.

Glove

Glove

The safety glove is like the conventional glove you wear on your hand, but it is relatively thicker and longer. It covers the thumb, fingers, wrist, hand, part of the arm, and forearm against potential hazards. However, some plumbers believe a safety glove reduces the sense of touch, but a good glove should enable you to have a firm grip on the item you are handling, especially in wet areas.

Steel Toe Boots

Steel Toe Boots

It is likely you begin to feel uncomfortable if you step on messy water while working on a leaking pipe in your backyard. The toe boot is a piece of protective equipment that covers the foot up to the tibia region. Even if you accidentally hit them against harmful objects or your working tools, your feet will be protected.

Goggles

Goggles

At times, you have to closely examine leaks, solder pipes, and do other things that could potentially harm the eyes. You need to wear appropriate goggles always.

Gas Leak Detector

Gas Leak Detector

The risk associated with gas leakage is always worrisome to homeowners. A gas leak detector detects the presence of gasses in an area and promptly identifies the precise location of the leakage. The device uses a battery and will sound an alarm to warn you of gas leakage.

Plumbing Consumables and Other Tools

There are other items that you need for complete plumbing tools at home. These tools are important and could serve as the easiest alternatives to any plumbing tools you do not have at home. Here is a list of some of the tools.

Abrasive

To smoothen the rough edges of pipes when you cut them is easier with abrasives. It could be in the form of grinding wheels, sandpaper, polishes, and many more. They are used to finish work on pipes smoothening through rubbing.

Sealants and Adhesive

adhesive

Soldering pipes together could take a longer duration and could be risky, especially when you are not an expert. It is easier to use sealants and adhesive to join pipes together and also fill the possible spaces between them.

Crimpers

Crimpers

A crimper is a tool that is used to join multiple pipes together. In the process of joining two pipes together, a crimper could deform one or both pipes.

PEX Pipe Expander and Fittings

pex fitting

The PEX pipes are the latest innovations that plumbers have adopted in recent times. The pipe retains its original shape, and it needs a perfect fitting when you work. You will need a PEX expander and fittings to drill a perfect hole in the pipe.

Plumbing Tape

Plumbing Tape

This is a plumbing tool that is essential for preventing leaks on pipes, threaded or joint pipes. It is usually thin white, and you wrap it on the threaded areas on the pipe before you join the pipes together.

Conclusion

There is no right or best life-saving tool for plumbers. Each job, the location of the job, and the nature will determine the type of personal protective equipment that you will use. Evaluate the nature of the job before you select which protective equipment you will use. Nevertheless, do not start any job until you wear your protective equipment, and make sure you observe other safety precautions.

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