Plumbing Tool Essentials for Beginners

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

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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.

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.
This Old House releases new segments every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Keywords: This Old House, How-to, home improvement, DIY, richard trethewey, ask this old house, kevin o’connor, plumbing, tools, beginners

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Chase Miller says:


John Jones says:

Who is going to grab the end of the toilet auger to get it round the second bend?

Pete M says:

Over where I live (Australia), anything beyond changing a washer or a shower head is illegal and requires a licensed plumber, hence plumbers charge a fortune assuming you can get one, and many people therefore are forced to learn how to DIY this stuff anyway due to budget constraints 🙂 Thanks for the vid.

Uzzu Garut says:

هؤلاء الرجال عملهم متقن جدا . وهم يعلمون الناس كيفية إصلاح الأعطال في المنازل . اتمنى لهم حياة سعيدة

Julian Knödler says:

Crap pliers … buy Knipex!

Silkworm says:

What you need is a decent screwdriver I’m not sure that orange plastic thing is decent

Xtrodinary says:

When this type of sewer fittings and pipes will be in US?

No glue needed, no more cutting pipes when need to break some pipe and so on…
Is it possible to buy similar type of pipes in US?

Manoj Mago says:

you guys are wonderful…please keep it up…thanks to all team

Rob E says:


Ian Bogue says:


Michael Mitroff says:

How did you check a tweet on a iMac that is turned off and not plugged in?

Mareds says:

Brasil é o meu país

Mo-AK says:

Did he indirectly call himself a tool at the end there?

1806StoneHouse says:

I’m sad that “duck tape” didn’t make the list…

Jair Perez says:

When he said to pull it out at 2:26 I was like “Fu*k that I’m not getting water with sh*t all over my face

EOSJOE says:

They make a version of those slip pliers with smooth jaws so as to not mar the fittings.

dallas says:

Thank you for this one

ekujj13 says:

You don’t need any of this. Just get a can of Thrift.

Round says:

I guess I’ll have to add a closet auger if I ever stop eating veggies.

Mareds says:

Olá bom dia amigão

Eu me chamo Edson Cunha e também tenho um canal no YouTube, estou sempre te acompanhando, e o trabalho de vocês fantástico, e muito bem explicado!! Ok mas é isso aí desejo boa sorte, e que G.’.A.’.D.’.U abençoe a todos! Abraço do Edson mareds

ravengsxr says:

House has a pvc main shutoff. Is this really bad.

Some Guy says:

All these experts…..



Generikid says:

0:19 reading tweets from a empty display

diver dave says:

NEVER use a plunger on a toilet … unless you want to ruin the wax ring that seals the toilet to the flange !

Rameshwar Gond says:



Plumbing materials cost

namrednop says:

One plumbing tool that I’ve found invaluable is one produced by Superior Tool called the ‘Basin Buddy Faucet Nut Wrench’ #03825. Every handyman should have this tool in their tool box!

anonymous says:

Huawei nova 2i phone

Kenny Graley says:

Phone A Friend lol…. Cheers

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