Professional Plumber Tools

Posted on: July 10th, 2013 by Paul

When we arrive at a home ready to perform a plumbing service, many homeowners are curious to see what tools we bring in. After all most people do not have much experience in plumbing repairs and it is only natural to wonder what all the tools are.

Here is a short description of some the tools we carry and what they are used for:

A tube flaring tool -flaring soft copper pipes allows a plumber to connect two pipes or tubes together or to another type of fitting.  A flared pipe has a gradually wider opening.  Tubing flares are usually set to a 45 degree angle, whereas piping flares have less of an angle due to their thickness. Similarly a swaging tool opens up copper pipes for coupling.

Set of plumbers tools

Plumbers Tools

Pipe cutters (also includes tubing cutters). In most cases it is important to have a straight and accurate cut at the end of a piece of pipe.  Rather than use something like a hacksaw, which leaves a ragged edge, professional plumbers use pipe cutters. These vary widely in size starting from small hand-held pliers type cutters for cutting flexible pipes to larger models for copper pipes.  A plastic pipe and tubing cutter may be a scissor-style cutter tool that can cut all types of plastic or rubber tube and pipe up to 1 5/8 in, larger than that needs a ratchet action. Other styles of cutters use a cutting disc or cutter wheel.  Hand held cutters often have a ratchet design to increase cutting strength and can be used to cut copper tubing from 1/8 to 1-1/8 OD (Outside Diameter) as well as 40 PVC and 40 CPVC tubing. Very large cutters to cut cast iron soil pipes and small diameter concrete pipes are used with a powered chain soil pipe cutter.

A tube bending set can easily bend tubing from 1/8 to ½ inch tubing. The tool is rolled around the tube until the required bend angle is reached. These tools allow the tube to be bent without creasing or causing any obstruction.  Different sized tools are use for the variety of different diameter tubes. As well as rotary bending tools, for different diameter pipes, bending springs are used. These are tightly coiled springs which fit inside the pipe to be bent, and keep the pipe’s internal cross-section the same shape as the pipe is bent, and prevent a crease or ford which would cause an obstruction.

A shower valve socket wrench is a specialized deep wrench is needed to undo the nut at the base of a stem shower valve, in a bathroom.  As sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer a shower valve socket wrench set is more useful for removing and installing shower and tub fittings from a variety of makers. Also useful is a plug wrench or tub removal tool to remove a bath drain, typically these are double-ended to fit different size drains.

A basic tool is a good set of soft jaw plumbing pliers used for gripping pipes.

When it comes to sweating or soldering copper pipes, a steel bristle fitting brush or tube cleaning brush is essential to clean and prepare the inside and outside of joints for solder. Copper pipe tends to corrode and having a clean brightly polished surface is a key to making a good watertight solder joint.

I hope this has helped explain some of the tools used by your local plumbing company covering the many types of residential plumbing repairs that we do on a daily basis.

Pipe crimpers there are two main types of pipe crimpers, the first has hardened steel jaws and is used like a narrow jaw pair of pliers to quickly crimp round the end of duct work for fitting pipes together. The second use of crimpers is to crimp or compress a copper crimp ring around the end of a flexible pipe where it connects to a brass fitting. In many plumbing situations, copper pipe is being replaced by cross-linked polyethylene, known as PEX tubing.


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