plumbing emergency - plumber

It’s A Plumbing Emergency! Do You Have The Right Tools?

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!

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.

12-inch Channel Lock
This channel lock plier is actually made by the Channellock brand. Read the Pro Tip below.

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.

5 gallon bucket - plumber emergency tool kit
A simple but durable five gallon bucket is all you need. But a three-gallon bucket will do as well.

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.

plumbers emergency toolkit - silicone tape
This is just one brand of silicone tape to be used for plumbing emergency repairs.

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.

There’s a right way to apply teflon tape so the seal is watertight and long-lasting. Watch our video to view how to use teflon tape correctly on your threaded pipe joints.

4. Plunger

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.

Flange plungers are designed for toilets only
This flange plunger (see the extra flap at bottom?) is for toilets specifically.

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.

emergency plumbers toolkit - allen keys (hex keys)
These are Allen wrenches (commonly known as Hex keys).

6. Gloves

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).
These gloves for plumbers (others can use them too) are great because they stretch, offer protection, and allow you to still be nimble with your fingers.

7. Flashlight

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.

Tactical Flashlight for plumbers
This compact tactical light – EdisonBright Fenix LD22 2015 Edition 300 Lumen XP-G2 R5 – is a bit more expensive but so much more useful for plumbing jobs. It comes with a belt clip, holster, lanyard, and two Alkaline batteries.

Final Thoughts

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.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

If you’d like a plumbing inspection or advice on tailoring a plumbing emergency kit just for you, don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237).

We immediately respond to and handle any emergency plumbingdrain cleaning, and water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated for 2021.

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