Top residential plumbing services on a variety of specialized tools to install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems effectively, as well as many items found in most household toolboxes. Here are four types of tools commonly used in the plumbing industry:
1. Pipe Flaring Tools
Just as plumbing snakes are valuable tools for clearing clogs and restoring proper drainage in sinks, tubs, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures, Pipe flaring tools have a single type of usage in residential plumbing services and are only used with “soft” metal pipes. Pipe flaring tools create a leak-free connection between pipes and– typically– brass fittings. These tools are commonly used when working with soft tubing materials like copper and aluminum that can be rolled out to custom lengths and navigated through confined spaces. A typical pipe flaring tool consists of a flaring bar or cone, a yoke, and a handle similar to those found on common C-clamps. To use the tool, the plumber places the appropriate size tubing in the corresponding clamp opening. The flaring bar is then inserted into the tubing, and the plumber uses the handle to tighten the clamp, causing the tubing to expand and form a flared end that vaguely resembles the flared end of some musical instruments. This provides a broader sealing surface and ensures a tight fit when connecting the pipe to fittings, preventing leaks and ensuring a durable connection.
Pipe flaring tools come in various sizes and types to accommodate different pipe dimensions and materials, often combining multiple pipe sizes in a single tool. Plumbers typically use a single-flare tool, but double-flaring tools are used in high-pressure configurations or fields such as HVAC or gas piping. Unlike some specialized tools, a pipe flaring set is rarely part of a homeowner’s tool kit because of its limited usefulness and the fact that training is required to use it effectively.
2. Pipe Wrenches
Pipe wrenches are essential tools in residential plumbing services. They come in various sizes, from small to large, and are designed to grip and turn pipes and fittings. These wrenches have serrated jaws that provide a secure grip on pipes, allowing plumbers to tighten or loosen them as needed. Pipe wrenches are particularly useful for working with threaded pipes and fittings.
A specialized form of plumbing wrench is the basin wrench. Basin wrenches are indispensable tools used primarily for installing and removing faucets in tight and hard-to-reach spaces beneath sinks or basins. These wrenches have a distinctive design with a long, slender handle and an adjustable swiveling jaw at one end. To use a basin wrench, the plumber positions the wrench’s jaw around the faucet’s mounting nut, which is usually located at the base of the faucet and adjusts the jaw to fit securely. Then, by gripping the handle and turning it clockwise, the user can loosen or tighten the nut without the need for direct visibility or direct access, thanks to the wrench’s unique shape and reach. Basin wrenches are particularly handy for jobs involving faucet installation, repair, or replacement in confined spaces, making the otherwise challenging task significantly more manageable.
3. Pipe Cutters
Pipe and tubing cutters are specialized tools designed for precision cutting of pipes and tubes in plumbing and other applications. These tools typically consist of a sharp cutting wheel or blade mounted on a rotating head. To use a pipe or tubing cutter, the operator first positions the tool’s cutting wheel at the desired location along the pipe or tube. Then, by rotating the cutter around the pipe in a circular motion and gradually tightening it, the cutting wheel scores a clean and even groove into the material. This process continues until the pipe or tube is fully cut through. Pipe and tubing cutters are favored for their ability to create smooth, burr-free cuts, making them ideal for tasks like shortening pipes or tubes during plumbing installations or repairs. They come in various styles, including ratcheting and rotary cutters, each suited for different pipe materials and sizes.
4. Adjustable Wrenches
Adjustable wrenches, often referred to by the brand name of Crescent wrenches, are versatile tools frequently employed in many household plumbing tasks, from appliance repair or installation to water heaters, tankless water heaters, and more. The tools feature an adjustable jaw that can be resized to fit various sizes of nuts, bolts, and fittings commonly found in plumbing systems. When tackling household plumbing projects, a plumber or DIY enthusiast would choose the appropriate size of an adjustable wrench and adjust the jaw to securely grip the fastener they intend to work with. An adjustable wrench allows the user to tighten or loosen the nuts and bolts of different sizes efficiently. Adjustable wrenches are particularly useful for tasks such as connecting supply lines, securing faucets, or tightening compression fittings.
Specialized Knowledge For Special Equipment
With so much specialized equipment, it is easy to understand why major jobs are best left to professionals who have spent years learning when and how to use the right plumbing equipment. Despite the old joke, there is much more to plumbing than remembering that hot is on the left, cold is on the right, and wastewater flows downhill. Pulling work permits often requires a licensed plumber, because licensing indicates the plumber has undergone extensive training and is conversant with local and municipal regulations. Just as the plumber requires tools that were designed specifically for the job, property owners need qualified plumbers with established reputations and a portfolio of completed projects.
Plumbing is a complicated field and requires more specialized equipment and accessories than you may think. These are just a few of the many tools that plumbers use in their daily work. The plumbing industry relies on various other specialized tools, such as pipe threaders, pipe benders, augers and drills, and soldering equipment, to handle a wide range of plumbing tasks effectively and efficiently. They also use tools such as valve wrenches designed expressly for installing or removing plumbing valves for faucets, tubs, and showers. These tools are available in sizes matched to various industry or patent valves, and are inserted into the wall rather than being used on an external mechanism.
Ehret Co. Plumbing & Heating
Ehret Co. Plumbing & Heating provides 24/7 household plumbing services for homes and multifamily buildings. We pride ourselves on our professional and quality work. Contact us through our online contact form or call us at 510-528-4292 for residential plumbing services any time, any day of the week.