One need not be a trained, master plumber with fully stocked supply shed in order to be prepared for some of the basic eventualities. Plumbing repairs happen. Having proper supplies on hand can save money and grief in the long run.
In addition to the top safety supplies one should have at home, there are a few tools which should be added to the home plumber’s toolbox.
- Pipe Wrench: At a minimum, at least one adjustable, heavy leaded pipe wrench should be a part of ones tool set. Better is having a large as well as a small. For the most prepared, the addition of adjustable pliers will often come in handy.
- Angle Stops: If the house is relatively new (built within the past 5 years or so) worrying about failed pipe connections should be minimal. Anything older however, and the risk of a toilet or sink supply line connection failing increases every year. Most homes have similar style and connector sizes for the stops around the house. Having at least 2 to 3 on hand is a low cost way to help minimize water damage which can be attributed to leaking connections.
- Faucet Washers: Plumbers like to make water faucets seem to be a big mystery. Really they are not. If possible look up the particular models and examine the exploded schematic views of the faucets in the home. Most will adequately describe the type of washers and seats required to stop leaks and drips.
- Plumbers Tape: Usually a Teflon coated, thin white tape approximately 3/8 of an inch wide. Any time a supply line connection or drain line is disconnected, one should use this tape to ensure that upon being reconnected water is unable to seep out through the pipe threads.
- Plumbers Grease: When those faucet washers and seats are re-installed, it is important to use this waterproof grease to help lubricate the actual faucet itself. In addition to providing for ease of use, plumbers grease will also provide for a small amount of water proofing of faucet connections as well.
- Supply Lines: Between the angle stops and the faucet or toilet is the water supply line. Manufactured of either poly-plastic blends or braided metal strands, when a supply line goes bad, the water flow must get turned off to prevent damage. Having at least one spare for the bathrooms of the house, and one spare for under the sinks (bathroom and kitchen tend to be the same size) is a prudent plumbing supply to have on hand.
- Toilet Flappers: Water is not only a precious commodity in most parts of the world, but can also be quite expensive. When a toilet is found to be “running” the culprit of the wasted water is often times due to a failing rubber flapper which closes the hole between the water fill tank on the back of the toilet and the bowl itself. These devices do not last for ever, and should be replaced every few years.
- Loosening Lubricant: Pipes and nuts can often times be quite the challenge to loosen for removal. Water causes rust, and where leaks might be prevalent, rusted fittings can prevent even the strongest attempts to remove the bolt, nut or fitting. Spray lubricants like WD 40 can soften the rusted or difficult connections making removal a much easier task.
- Outdoor Hose Washers: Provided one keeps outdoor hoses rolled up, in dry areas, they tend to last for many years. What does tend to go out on them are the rubber washers which provide cushion and leak prevention between the hose and the outdoor faucet’s threads. These are very easy to spot when bad, usually regardless of how tight the connection is made, water continues to leak at the faucet head end. With replacement being sold in multiple packs, having a spare on hand is cheap and easy.
- General Plumbing Repair Manuals: Finally, a little knowledge can both go a long way towards minimizing plumbing challenges in the home as well as helping reduce ones bills to the local plumber. Simple repairs and preventative maintenance can be found in any number of manuals available online or at your local hardware store.
What other plumbing supplies should you have on hand? Share the contents of your toolbox in the comments!