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Practical Plumbing Tips for The Home Handyman

Let it be known; plumbing is not the easiest DIY home project to jump in feet first. When it comes to working with water, however, it would behoove you to have a handle on some things first.

Last time we talked about tune-ups and basic prevention, and if you followed those steps, then this first tip is an easy checkbox to tick.

Know Your Shut-Off Valves

Knowing where the shut offs are is crucial in an emergency, but no less important when it comes time to do home repairs. Turn the valves and shut off the water leading to whichever fixture you are planning on working with.

Working with Copper

To put it basically, working with copper piping is a key foundation in modern plumbing and with a little bit of practice just about anyone can make minor pipework. The basics can be summed in 4 steps. Clean the copper, adding flux, heating the joint and applying your solder. Obviously, you’ll want to read up more on this before you begin doing pipe work for an entire building, but the idea we’re getting at here is that it is easy to learn.

A Beginner’s Toolbox

We talked about the wealth of tools used by professional plumbers, but what tools will a DIYer need? Here are some basics:

  • Basin wrench: For tightening and loosening nuts that hold sink faucets. It has a long shaft and swiveling jaw that allow it to do what only it can do. This is one of those cases where the right tool for the right job is unquestionable; no other wrench can work for these situations.
  • Pipe wrench (2): These wrenches will be used to tighten and loosen threaded pipes and fittings. You’ll want two because one will be used to grip and hold while the second is for the turning.
  • A Propane Torch: Needed if you’re going to be sweating the copper like we talked about earlier.
  • Hack saw: Useful for cutting most things.
  • Metal File: Remove burrs and smooths edges after hack saw work. It’s a one two punch, the saw, and file.
  • Tubing cutter: The quickest way to cut copper pipe.
  • And of course, a plunger!

No doubt you’ll find other basic tools to put in your kit, but these are essentials. Now with this in mind, let’s look at what fixes you should know how to do and can safely tackle on your own.

 

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