Plumbing Tool Essentials for Beginners | Ask This Old House

Share it with your friends Like

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows the basic tools required for most plumbing projects.
SUBSCRIBE to This Old House:

Cost: $10 and Up

Skill Level: Beginner

Tools List for Beginning Plumbers:
Water Pump Pliers
Adjustable Open End Wrench
Basin Wrench
4-in-1 screwdriver
Closet Auger
Plumbing snake

1. Richard recommends labeling the main water shut off valve to make it easy to locate in an emergency.
2. Water pump pliers are a good multi-purpose plumbing tool. Richard recommends selecting a pair that opens wide enough.
3. An adjustable open end wrench allows for tightening and loosening without leaving behind marks.
4. A basin wrench allows facuet nuts that are hard to access to be loosened and tightened.
5. A screwdriver with multiple tips allows one tool to be used for many applications.
6. A plunger is useful for clearing stopped toilets.
7. For more difficult clogs, a closet auger can be used in toilets.
8. A plumbing snake can clear clogged drain pipes.
9. Identify a local plumber that can be called in an emergency.

All of the tools and material used can be found at a home center or plumbing supply store.

About Ask This Old House TV:
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

Follow This Old House and Ask This Old House:

For more on This Old House and Ask This Old House, visit us at:

Plumbing Tool Essentials for Beginners | Ask This Old House


Cory Griffiths says:

I use the Knipex pliers instead of the channel locks the good thing about the Knipex pliers is they’re self locking making it easier channel locks don’t have that self locking feature if you can afford them get a pair of Knipex pliers their the best.

dandeleona says:

DIYers need mneumonics for direction of turn … if there are any. We all know right tighty but up under a sink I broke the brass nut with that and made the repair worse. Same with backside of a pipe or upside down main shutoff gate valve, when direction might not be intuitive. Nothing worse than keep turning thinking it's just scale in the way when it's actually brass or pvc threads and you're over tightening. Sure, if we did this kind of work on a daily basis it would be simple, but mostly it's emergency type stuff and we're rattled to start. A ball valve is nice because 'cross it off' is a good mneumonic, and a single 1/4 turn is proof either way. The handle in a 'cross' configuration closes everything from furnace duct baffles to water pipes. Any tips or tricks?

Mixwell1983 says:

If you have compression fitting shutoff valves for your water lines a 1/2" ferrule puller is a must along with a basin wrench and valve seat wrenches. Those are my 3 "specialty" plumbing tools.. A drain snake is a no brainer also.

Holinking _ Plumbing Specialty says:

Solder Joint Fittings are available for all client's now; Casting Bronze material.
Please refer to website

Thom Ream says:

Steve and Rich (and the other guys) have helped me multiple times over the years. Sometimes I think they should send me a bill.
But I'm glad they don't!

Andrew says:

What sizes are the the Channel locks, large adjustable wrench and basin wrench? I enjoyed the video.

C G says:

I know how to properly use a plunger now…..mind blown.

Trill Flaco says:

just call a plumber who knows what their doing

dgh ebgt says:

put chicken in the garbage disposal and now both the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink water in the apartment backs up into the bathtub

The Tub and Shower Valve UPDATE PLATE says: Check it out. May solve your problem. Thanks

Charley The Plumber says:

Basin wrench…great tool but a lot of people struggle using them for some reason


makes a video of the new ridgid telescopic wrench for plumbers

Microphonix Virtual Studio says:

Fold your paper at the perforations and your toilet will never get clogged.

Plumbing Parts Pro says:

Awesome video. I cant think of any other tools needed for s home

Even Flow says:

You can do everything with a screw driver and channel locks


Adjustable open end,just call it a crescent

J S says:

The plunger he used is not for pulling waste backwards but to fill the cup on the inside part of the plunger (with toilet water..yes you will get a finger or 2 dirrty) and keep the water in the cup while applying the same seal he pointed at and give 1 good push with the plunger and the water inside the cup will act as a flush dislodging the blocked waste where he pointed at in the cutout. anyways I always bet people if I can unclog a toilet with 1 shot you owe me 20 bucks, and I always bring a case of beer back home.

Francisco Rodriguez says:

Unfortunately, the toilet has to put up with a lot of shi…………! It has to get "pissed" off some time.

Write a comment