Plumbers perform detailed installations and repair work on water pipes and home fixtures. These professionals use their expert knowledge and dozens of different plumber tools to bend and fix pipes into place, prevent leaks, and clear blockages. There are many types of specialized plumber tools and materials that are essential to the job, including ratchets, pliers, pipe cutters, closet augers, plungers, plumber's snakes, tapes, and glues.
Pipes and fixtures that are installed in a new home or building require an expert to utilize many different plumber tools. A plumber commonly bends using specially designed tools and pliers so they will fit within a given space in a wall or under a sink. He or she treats joints with plumber's tape, putty or glue to prevent leaks, and secures pieces together with a monkey wrench or a large ratchet. A plumber often uses smaller handheld wrenches and screwdrivers to fit drain covers and faucets into place.
Professionals who specialize in repair jobs for homes and businesses use a number of plumber tools to clear drains and pipes. When a blockage in a toilet, sink, or bathtub prevents water from draining, an expert often tries a plunger to loosen gunk and buildup from pipe walls. If a plunger is not effective, he or she might try a plumbers' snake or a closet auger to finish the task. A plumber's snake is a long metal cable that can be inserted and unwound deep into pipes to break up clogs.
Some plumbers specialize in laying and fitting large pressurized steam and water pipes for use in manufacturing and electricity plants, municipal water systems, and sewers. These professionals may need to use shovels to dig trenches, metal cutters and benders to shape large pipes, and large wrenches to secure joints together. Pipelayers and pipefitters occasionally weld pieces together and pour cement to hold pipes in a foundation. The unique shape of toilet pipes require a closet auger, which is a type of plumber's snake that has a long, flexible handle that maneuvers through bends and pipe joints.
Many plumber tools are commercially available at hardware stores for home and business owners who want to perform their own basic repair work. People can buy plungers, closet augers, and snakes to help clear buildups in sinks and toilets. Amateurs can also purchase liquid or gel chemical solutions to loosen blockages and flush water systems. Major repair jobs, however, should be left to professionals so that no further damage is done to pipes or fixtures.