Home Plumbing 101: Stocking Your Toolbox and Getting Started
There are some home plumbing tasks that you can realistically do yourself provided you have the competency and confidence to know your limits, and as long as you have all the right tools at your disposal.
Here is a look at some of the plumbing problems you might be able to fix and a checklist of the tools you need to be able to the job. There is a basic checklist of essential tools and accessories, plus some tips on how to decide if you should go the DIY route or call a plumber.
Tools of the trade
It would not be a good idea to attempt to fix a plumbing problem by yourself without having what you need in your toolbox, which means you should be prepared for the sort of DIY challenges you are likely to encounter at some point by having the right tool for the job.
If you are going to change a faucet, fix a leak, or work on a problem in those hard-to-reach spaces under the sink, there are some basic items required for your toolkit.
You will need a basin wrench for those tight spots and you can get wrenches and other plumbing tools from a site like RS Components. Also on your shopping list should be some locking and needle-nose pliers, plumbers tape and putty, and if you are going to tackle something more challenging you will need a tubing cutter and a propane torch.
If you have some of these basic tools at your disposal you should be well placed to work on the sort of jobs that can be considered DIY projects. It is always a good idea to check exactly what you need before you start work and check whether you have it in your toolkit as well as considering if it is a job you can handle.
Know your limits
Plumbing and electrical tasks are two categories of DIY work where it really matters to know the limits of your ability and knowledge, as you can soon create havoc and cause damage to yourself and your home if you come unstuck and can’t fix the problem, or make it worse.
If you are unsure, you always have the option to call a professional to fix the problem, or you can read and watch some tutorials to see if the work involved is something you are confident enough to tackle.
Your supplier will often guide you towards the various extra items you will need in addition to the tools that you already have in your toolbox.
If you are going to dive in and sort out a plumbing problem yourself, having made sure you have all the tools and accessories required once you start the job you will need to turn the water supply off as a precautionary measure.
You can isolate the water supply using specific valves but it is often a good idea to have the backup security of stopping the flow of water around your home, just in case things go wrong.
When you have the right tools and the necessary knowledge, you should be able to tackle a number of standard household plumbing problems without the need to call a professional.