Plumbers use a huge range of equipment that they will normally store in their specialised truck or van. Plumbers will keep all of this equipment on hand when heading out to a job, as well as extra parts and fittings to account for any unforeseen circumstances.
A drain snake is a flexible, slender auger used to tackle clogs and blockages. Drain snakes are usually used for especially difficult clogs when a plunger hasn’t worked. Drain snakes should generally only be used by qualified plumbers, as they can cause leaks and tears if used incorrectly.
The auger, or uncoiled spring, on the end of the drain snake resembles a corkscrew or drill bit. To use a drain snake, the plumber will directly insert the auger end into the drain, and rotate the handle to uncoil. As the plumber uncoils the snake, the auger will move further down the drain pipe until it reaches the obstruction. The plumber will then rotate the snake to break up the blockage.
Plumbers use pipe wrenches to tighten and loosen pipes and pipe fittings, or basin wrenches to install and remove taps.
Basin wrenches have pivoting gripping heads at the end of a long handle, designed to help plumbers reach the awkward space behind a sink. Plumbers will use the basin wrench to loosen or tighten the taps’ mounting nuts or supply tube nuts.
Pipe wrenches come in a variety of designs, including:
- Straight pipe wrenches.
- End pipe wrenches.
- Offset wrenches.
- Compound leverage wrenches.
- Chain pipe wrenches.
- Strap wrenches
Straight wrenches are suitable for all kinds of pipe work, while the other wrench types may be used for different piping tasks depending on the angle and accessibility of the work area.
Plungers are often the first tool used to tackle blockages, and many Australian homeowners have one of their own. A plunger uses pressure and suction that, when the handle is moved up and down, the water will be forced up and down too, dislodging any minor clogs.
Not all plungers are of the same quality—so if a standard household plunger isn’t working, a plumber may be called upon to fix the blockage with a higher-quality plunger.
Plumber’s pliers are also called tongue and groove pliers, adjustable pliers, multi-grips or channel locks. These specialised pliers have serrated jaws set from 45 to 60 degrees from their handles, allowing the lower jaw to be moved into a number of positions.
Plumbing pliers are often used for holding or turning nuts and bolts, clamping materials and gripping difficult objects.
Faucet washers can be made from plastic, nylon or rubber, and are designed to stop the water flow when the faucet is closed. Worn-out or cracked faucet washers are a common cause of leaking taps.
Plumber’s tape or Teflon tape is used to achieve a seal threaded pipe joints, keep the connection lubricated and stop pipes from sticking during disassembly. Plumber’s tape should be used when the threaded connection doesn’t already have a rubber seal built-in.