Tradespeople are known for being good with their hands, but being good with your hands means knowing when and how to use the right tools. Plumbers are no exception and have to navigate an array of different issues—and sometimes hazards—to best serve homeowners and provide lasting plumbing solutions. Below, we take a look at the some of the essential tools plumbers use to service the modern homeowner.
No tool is more associated with plumbing than the mighty wrench! There's no, single all-purpose wrench, however, and prepared plumbers are usually prepared with several when arriving at a work site.
The pipe wrench is usually the largest wrench a plumber will have with them. These heavy tools are used to tighten and loosen nuts and fittings on pipework. Two of these wrenches are usually used together—one to hold a pipe in place and the other to rotate the nut or fitting in the appropriate direction. Pipe wrenches come in various lengths and prepared plumbers are usually ready to work with an entire set of these tools.
The basin wrench is a T-shaped tool used specifically to work on faucets. The clamp-like mechanism these wrenches have on one end allow plumbers to reach down into narrow spaces and loosen or tighten the nuts that keep our faucets working (and not leaking).
The adjustable wrench was designed to tighten and loosen hexagonal nuts and fittings on pipes. These wrenches come in a variety of sizes, but plumbers most often have the six and 10-inch versions on hand for the next job.
Not a traditional wrench per se, but a critical piece of hardware nonetheless. Faucet keys are small, X-shaped tools designed opening and closing spigots and sillcocks. There are versatile models out there that deal with different stem fittings, like 1/4", 9/32", 5/16", and so on.
If you’re a plumber, you work with pipes—that’s just the nature of the trade. Modern plumbers use a variety of tools and techniques to repair, alter, replace, install piping in various (and usually tight) spaces around a home.
You likely associate saws with carpenters, but plumbers will carry a hacksaw to cut through a variety of hardware, including pipes, nuts, bolts, and even screws. This is tough work and plumbers need to make sure their blade is tightly secured (and that there are spare blades back in the truck).
Tube and Plastic Pipe Cutters
Whether you're a trade professional that regularly deals with copper or plastic piping (and you probably frequently deal with both), there will be times when you need to remove, replace, and resize them. There are an array of different types of handheld tube and plastic pipe cutters on the market, so novice and veteran plumbers alike can choose which models work best for them.
One way to seal copper piping with by soldering it—and to solder, you need heat. Plumber's torches are small, handheld tools that allow plumbers to apply intense heat in very precise areas, soldering and sealing up new piping for installs and replacements.
Thread Sealing Tape
Also known as "plumber's tape," this tape is used to patch or prevent possible leaks at threaded joint connections in piping. Quality thread sealing tape is resistant to both high and low temperatures, stretches for better, form-fitting coverage, and never dries out.
Like wrenches, pliers are a fact of life for plumbers. These smaller tools allow professionals to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts that are too small for the grip of a wrench—or fit into the plumber's hand in tight spaces where a wrench won't fit.
Sometimes the problem isn’t the pipe, it’s what’s inside. Any plumber worth their salt knows their way around a stubborn clog and which tools they need to keep a homeowner’s plumbing uncongested and running smoothly.
Most homeowners own plungers, but plumbers should come equipped with them, too. Trade professionals should be ready with heavy-duty flange and cup plungers that can produce significantly more suction than the average consumer plunger.
A hand auger is a circular handheld device that allows plumbers to drive a cable deep down a drain in order to break apart and clear clogs (via a hand crank). Hand auger technology has come a long way over the years and there are various models and capabilities out there for plumbing professionals to consider.
A snake machine is essentially a larger, motorized version of the hand auger. When clogs are especially deep or difficult to displace, snake machines usually have the muscle to remedy the situation.
Plumbing isn’t usually associated with danger, but experienced plumbers know that there are ways of getting hurt on the job. Luckily, there are a number of different tools these professionals can carry to protect themselves and dramatically lower the changes of an accident.
Being a plumber means closely examining leaks, soldering, and other things that can be potentially dangerous to one's eyes. A good plumber is also a safe one, the good plumbers always arrive at the scene with appropriate eyewear.
It's no surprise plumbers are exposed to a lot of things that no one would want to touch with their bare hands. There are various types of heavy duty gloves on the market that can protect a plumber's hands, allow them to better grip things while wet, and offer a range of other benefits, as well.
If soldering is a regular part of your day-to-day, then it's critical you have the proper safety equipment to protect yourself and the homeowner's property. There are various, reliable heat shields and pads on the market that can protect plumbers and the surrounding environment from heat damage and catching fire with soldering is necessary.
From re-designed hardware to new emerging technologies that are changing the face of the plumbing industry, there are always new tools and solutions for plumbing pros to consider when looking to up their game and better their business.
PEX Pipe Expander & Fittings
PEX piping is one of plumbing's latest innovations: resilient, flexible plastic piping that allows unprecedented convenience and reliability. A PEX expander is a drill-like tool that widens the mouth of the pipe so that a metal fitting can be inserted. Because PEX piping retains its original shape, the mouth closes in on the fitting, creating a perfect seal for water to pass through.
It wasn't long ago that borescopes were considered top-of-the-line technology in the plumbing trade, but now most plumbers carry them. These small cameras tethered by a long, flexible cable are meant to be inserted far down drains and sewer lines to give professionals a better look at the condition of the piping and whatever may be obstructing it. Smaller plumbing outfits can even now use prosumer models that connect directly to a smartphone for fast, convenient application.
Fewer and fewer trade professionals are relying on a clipboard and pencil to work out estimates and scribble out invoices. Instead, they're armed with a vibrant tablet that not only helps them to better sell their products and services to homeowners, but streamlines paperwork, reduces mistakes, and captures payments on the spot!
Hundreds of plumbing companies have transformed the way they do business with ServiceTitan. With an award-winning, cloud-based plumbing software solution to help run their business, these companies have modernized their customer service, streamlined office operations, and increased their revenue by an average 25% in their first year with us. For more information on how ServiceTitan can help your home service business reach the next level, contact us today to request a demo.