Common plumbing tools

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If you're getting ready to tackle a job yourself, you need to come prepared. And that means you need to get acquainted with the basic plumbing tool kit – which tools you'll need, and exactly when you'll need them. We all know what they say about people who blame their tools, so we've put together a quick run-down on some of the most common plumbing tools you're likely to use around the house.

1. The radiator key

It may be simple and small, but it's hard to bleed a radiator without one. This fits into the bleed valve on the side of your radiator, near the top, and it's used for releasing trapped air so that the radiator can heat up more efficiently.

2. The strap wrench

The strap wrench is an especially useful plumbing tool for when you need to tighten nuts. By adjusting the length of the strap, you can get a solid grip on parts of any size.

3. The screwdriver

As you'd imagine, screwdrivers are really handy for turning screws. Just remember that there are two types: use a flat-headed screwdriver for slot-in-head screws, and a Philips screwdriver for cross-headed screws.

4. The plunger

Every household should have one of these in their plumbing tool kit. It's not just for unblocking toilets – you can use them on bathroom basins and kitchen sinks, too.

5. The box spanner

This is the perfect tool for reaching nuts in awkward or confined spaces. You might see your plumber using one of these when they install household taps.

6. The basin wrench

The basin wrench is another plumbing tool that's handy for getting at hard-to-reach areas. Plumbers use one of these when they need to tighten taps in places that would normally be impossible to get to.

7. The hacksaw

When you need to cut off excess copper piping, but you don't have a lot of room to do it in, a hacksaw is perfect for getting into recessed spaces or pipes in an awkward position.

8. PTFE tape

This is what we use to seal joints on pipes – and we recommend using WRAS approved tape. It's also known as ‘thread seal tape’, as it helps the threads to form a better seal when you screw pipes or parts together.