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Plumbing Supplies for the Do-It-Yourselfer

By Brett Freeman
Plumbing Supplies for the Do-It-Yourselfer

A good rule of thumb when considering whether to try and fix a plumbing problem yourself is this: if you're not sure what you're doing, don't do anything at all. All plumbers have a bunch of stories about the "handy" homeowner who turned a $100 problem into a $1,000 disaster.

Do-It-Yourself Plumbing

That said, there are a number of plumbing jobs the average homeowner can handle with ease, if they are properly provisioned. Here are a few of the plumbing supplies that will make the simpler repairs a snap.

Plunger

Ideally it's nice to have one large plunger for each floor of your house, plus a small one to use on sinks. Plungers clear clogged toilets and drains by creating suction.

Plumber's Snake

Also known as a cable auger, this is the go-to tool when a plunger can't get the job done. The head of the snake consists of the auger, usually a thick, loosely coiled wire. This attaches to a cable, which attaches to a crank. Turning the crank clockwise allows the auger to work its way through the drain to the clog, and hopefully pull out or work free whatever is causing the blockage. This tool is particularly valuable in older homes and in households with infants (because flushable baby wipes are anything but).

Pipe Wrench

Plungers tend to be more effective on toilets than sinks. When clogged sinks prove plunger-proof, a pipe wrench can allow you to open the works under the sink and clear the blockage.

Smooth Jawed Wrench

This adjustable wrench is useful when working with chrome- or brass-finished pipes and fixtures because it won't grind the finishes off of them. In a pinch, you can put duct tape on the gripping surfaces of a regular adjustable wrench to avoid damaging the finishes of pipes and fixtures.

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