If you live in a home or apartment, having a plumbing emergency kit on hand can be a huge help when things get urgent and messy.
But what are the must-have tools to combat a burst pipe, a toilet clog, or a faulty faucet? Or, do you just need a starter plumbing tool kit for beginners? You know, something to have around the house whenever the urge for a minor repair or upgrade hits you.
Read on to learn how to prepare a fully stocked emergency plumbing tool kit for DIY beginners!
Table of Contents
Your 7 Must-Have Plumbers Tools
These seven tools are where you need to start with your plumbing emergency kit. Over time, you can add to it as you see the need. But these seven items are a great start.
1. 12-inch Channel Locks
In almost any plumbing emergency that involves a leaking or burst pipe, the first and best thing to do is locate your shutoff valve and turn off your water.
Depending on the house or building, you may have an indoor or an outdoor water shut-off. Most inside water shut-off valves are simple to turn, but outdoor valves can be tricky.
Keeping a pair of (yes, two!) 12-inch channel locks in your home or toolbox will be a major help when you need some extra grip or need one for tightening while using the other for stability.
PRO TIP: Did you know that Channel lock pliers is a slang name for pliers made by the Channellock™ brand? The actual name of these kind of pliers is tongue-and-groove pliers, which are a type of slip-joint pliers. Most people will know what you mean, but know that if you ask for a pair of channel lock pliers in the hardware store, they’ll probably lead you straight to the brand name pliers.
2. Five Gallon Bucket
No one wants to deal with the pain and cost of water damage and mold in their home. Having a large bucket on hand for active leaks or a loose garbage disposal will make for a quick clean up.
3. Silicon Repair Tape & Teflon Tape
While Silicon Repair Tape isn’t a fix-all by any means, it can help tremendously in case of emergency.
If you have a pipe or drain leak that needs attention immediately, simply wrap this caulk-like material around the leak. Silicon Repair Tape will fuse around the pipe. This will work as a temporary solution until you can get a plumber out to repair the issue.
If the leak is coming from the joint of a threaded pipe (and for a more permanent solution), you’ll want to carry with you another type of tape: teflon tape.
Teflon tape makes threaded joints watertight. And there are two kinds: one for gas line joints and one for water pipe joints. Watch this video to learn how to apply it correctly.
I’m sure we don’t need to explain this one, but every bathroom in your home should have a plunger! Here’s a great article on how to use a plunger correctly. Just make sure you get the right plunger for the right job. A flat plunger is for sinks, while a plunger with a flap is for toilets.
5. Allen Wrenches
Also known as a hex key, Allen wrenches are simple, compact and perfect for loosening faucet screws or tightening toilet bolts into the ground. Inexpensive to buy but so valuable for the kind of plumbing emergencies you might run across in your home.
Because who wants an icky mess on their hands? Even plumbers keep a pair of gloves handy for plumbing situations not recommended for the faint of heart (or nose).
A flashlight can help you search for that ring you accidentally dropped down the sink. Also perfect for looking down dark, damp basement drains and shower drains in order to locate a clog.
Make sure the flashlight you use is bright enough, but also creates a range of beams (from tight and targeted to broad and dispersed). You’ll need it for a variety of projects with different shapes and sizes; from narrow water supply lines pipe joints hidden behind walls or in the shadows.
No one anticipates a plumbing disaster, but as a homeowner and/or property manager/landlord being prepared is the first step. Stock your toolbox or bag with these necessities and you’ll be less likely to need water damage restoration.
Watch our video below or on our YouTube channel for an updated list of the 10 essential tools to have in your first plumbing tool kit.
We immediately respond to and handle any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, and water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated for 2021.