As a plumber, a basic job can be difficult or even impossible if you’re improvising with tools that don’t quite meet the task requirements.
In addition to making your job easier, having appropriate, properly maintained tools also improve safety on the job. Turning up to a job without the right tools could even cost you the job if it’s an emergency.
Quality tools allow you to complete each job in a timely manner and provide customers with the installation, maintenance, and repair outcomes they’re looking for.
So what are the most essential tools in any plumber’s toolkit? From physical tools to online resources, these indispensable tools help make your workday effective and successful.
The physical tools you’ll rely on to get nearly any plumbing job done include:
- Drain cleaners – Also known as drain snakes, augurs, and electric eels, these feature a metal coil on the end for cleaning blocked drains and piping. They can be manual or electric. Toilet snakes are similar but are designed to unblock the bigger drainage area of a toilet.
- Pipe cameras – Pipe cameras help you inspect pipes, drains, and flue lines.
- Pipe lasers – These help ensure pipes are aligned, straight, and/or at the right gradient.
- Trench shields – Trench shields keep the soil out of the way when you’re laying pipes.
- Pipe-bending kits – With a pipe-bending kit, you can cut pipes on site instead of having to take piping offsite.
- Hole saw – This ring-shaped saw lets you cut holes without cutting up the core material.
- Pipe wrenches – Pipe wrenches help you loosen, tighten, and grip pipes and fittings. Having two is ideal, so you can hold a pipe in place with one and turn the fitting with the other.
- Adjustable wrench – This standard tool locks its grip and so lets you handle bolts, fasten components, and grip pipes with ease. Its adjustability means you can change the grip size to adapt to different fittings.
- Other wrenches – Other useful wrenches include internal pipe wrenches, telescopic basin wrenches, and torque wrenches.
- Pipe handle – These are designed to let you grip plastic pipes without damaging them.
- Plunger – Plumbers rely on the humble plunger to unblock sinks, drains, and toilets.
- Plumbing tape – Also known as thread seal tape, plumbing tape performs a mighty job – preventing leaks at threaded joint connections.
- Other materials – Other indispensable consumable materials could include soldering wire, soldering paste, and sandpaper.
- Tubing cutter – Tubing cutters are vital if you’re cutting copper pipes as they help you achieve neat cuts.
- Metal file – These let you smooth out the edges of cut pipes and other surfaces.
- Pipe deburrer – A pipe deburrer allows you to remove burrs and imperfections from cut pipe, tubing, and other items.
- Water pump pliers – Also known as tongue-and-groove pliers, this diverse, adjustable tool lets you grip and hold items of varying sizes.
- Blowlamp – Blowlamps or soldering torches are designed for soldering and fixing pipes and joints.
- Hacksaw – Hacksaws enable you to cut pipes, nuts, bolts, or screws.
- Mole grip – Also known as vise-grip pliers, this multifunctional item lets you loosen nuts, remove broken screws, clamp things in place, and much more.
- Silicone cartridge guns – This specialised tool is designed for resealing the caulking around sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.
- Pipe press – You use these to press copper and stainless steel piping for uniform joints.
- Metal detector – A metal detector can be handy for finding buried steel or iron objects like valve boxes, manhole covers, and cast iron piping.
- Hydro-jetting machines – Plumbers use these high-pressure machines on clogged pipes to clear away grease, sludge, soap, and other obstructing materials.
- Flex shaft drain-cleaning machines – These specialist machines are also used to clean out pipes, and they feature chain knockers on a long cable.
These online resources support you in keeping your knowledge up to date and can make everyday tasks like invoicing and converting measurements easier.
- Unit conversion calculator – Accurately converting units is vital for choosing the right plumbing items, sizing materials for use, and understanding the capacity of parts like water tanks. Use this unit conversion calculator to convert common measurements for pressure (PSI and kPa), flow rate (Kv and litres), length (inches and millimetres), and temperature (Fahrenheit and Celsius).
- Plumbing Web: Billed as the most comprehensive listing of all things plumbing on the internet, Plumbing Web lets you find plumbing groups, info, news, manufacturers, and more.
- Invoicing tools – Invoice your customers quickly and get paid faster. Try a free app like Reckon or free software like Wave Invoicing. Alternatively, if you’re looking for more features, a paid service like Simple Invoices, Rounded, or MYOB could be right for your plumbing business.
- Apps – You have a huge variety of apps to support you on the job, from calculations to marketing and payments. Check out Housecall Pro, ServiceOS, Pipe Trades Pro, and Plumbing Formulator to start with. Field service management apps like Jobber allow you to do everything in one platform.
- Blogs – Mr Rooter, Len the Plumber, and Housecall Pro’s plumbing articles are some well-known blog resources for plumbers.
- Social media – Explore groups like Plumbing Hacks, Plumbing Contractors, and Plumbing Design and share great ideas with other plumbers.
Organise your plumbing toolkit today
Plumbing can be a challenging (yet rewarding) field to work in. The precise outcomes you often need to deliver for customers require you to have the right tools at all times. With the necessary tools, you can complete installations, repairs, and maintenance with ease – while ensuring the job fulfils legal and safety standards.
As such, checking you have the right tools on hand for your day should be an essential part of your daily routine. Similarly, it’s just as important to take stock of your tools and equipment and verify each item is in good order on a regular basis.
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