There’s nothing worse than having a toilet overflow or a shower back up… and these things always seem to crop up at the most inopportune time. Plumber’s aren’t always available when there’s an emergency, so it’s helpful to have some basic plumbing knowledge to get yourself out of a tight spot until you’re able to get a hold of an expert.

Having a basic plumber’s toolbox handy can help you fix tricky situations or at least temporarily solve problems until expert plumbers are available. In order to become a novice plumber, you’ll need a small arsenal of handy tools at your disposal.

1. Plunger

The plunger, also known as a ‘plumber’s best friend,’ will be one of the most valuable (and commonly used) tools you own. Although you can buy one on the cheap for under five dollars; investing in a slightly sturdier model is a decent idea, as poorly constructed plungers easily break (sometimes during use).

A plunger is primarily used to de-clog toilets; it can, however, be used for shower and sink drains as well. Too often, people misuse this simple tool. A good plumber knows that a plunger shouldn’t push clogged material into the drain, but rather works as a suction device. You create a tight seal with the plunger around the offending drain and pull upwards to suck out any debris.

2. Toilet Auger

Where plungers fail, toilet augers prevail! These devices are sometimes called upon to ‘snake’ out tough clogs that lie too deep for plungers to reach. It resembles a pole with a crank attached at one end and flexible shaft at the other. The shaft is inserted into the drain and will either help pull up any clog or break it apart to clear the obstruction.

3. Adjustable Wrench

Shower heads and other fixtures become loose, creating leaks or worse i.e. falling apart. A wrench can help tighten loose nuts and bolts or can be used to replace old or broken fixtures.

4. Teflon Tape

Sprung a leak? Tape it up! It isn’t one a professional plumber would do, but you’re a novice. Tape can help keep your bathroom from flooding overnight or causing dangerous puddles. If you notice a pipe is leaking, a few layers of this will keep things dry long enough for you to give the plumber a call.

5. Pliers

Although you may be able to manoeuvre regular pliers to undo a screw, plumber’s pliers are specifically suited for these jobs. There may come a time when you have to dismantle a fixture or tank, and when it does, you’ll be glad to have a pair of these handy.

6. Gloves

Keep your hands clean and dry. Plumbing jobs get slippery, so it’s important to work with a pair of sturdy gloves so you don’t lose your grip and accidentally hurt yourself or break something.

Don’t attempt any large projects without experience and plumbing knowledge. A good rule of thumb is to only attempt to patch up leaks or unclog when absolutely necessary and when the problem is highly visible.

Amateur plumbing skills are not always enough to deal with a breakdown or a blockage; its time to call in the professionals. Naperville plumbers specialize in 24 Hour Emergency Service and offer the highest quality service. Visit them at

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