There are few things more hair-raising to a homeowner’s conscience than the sound of a pipe bursting in the middle of the night or a water spot suddenly appearing on your wall. When that happens, it’s best to call an experienced plumber (the middle of the night events are why we offer 24/7 on-call emergency repair).

Not every event has to be that dramatic, however. In fact, most plumbing repairs can be solved with just a few basic tools and a little bit of elbow grease. Below are some of the most common tools we recommend you keep on hand for the more common problems.

Plunger

No matter if you even really know what it’s for, the first thing on your new homeowner’s shopping list is a reliable plunger – preferably one for every bathroom in your house. You can pick them up from virtually every big-box hardware or department store, and stash them underneath the sing or next to the toilet.

The operation is fairly simple. When you see a commode start to back up, grab the plunger and stick it over the hole in the bowl of your toilet (creating a seal), and start pumping. Within minutes, the clog should be undone (if not, call us). It’s hard to overstate the necessity of owning a basic plunger: it’s cheap, effective, and necessary.

Caulking Gun

In order to keep the mold out and the water where it should be, your shower, sink, and toilet areas should be properly sealed. To do this, you’ll need waterproof caulk and a caulking gun. While you can apply the caulk without a gun, it’s cumbersome and quite frankly, unnecessary. A caulking gun will not only make the process easier, but will apply the compound quickly and evenly as well.

Hand Auger

For times when the clog in your drain is just too hard to handle with a regular plunger, a hand auger can be a lifesaver. Simply put, an auger is a long, metal wire that you put down the drain and forces the clogs through. You may have seen a large mechanical auger in a yard somewhere being used to drill a hole into the ground; if so, a hand auger operates the same way, except smaller and not as forceful. It comes in different types, from a toilet auger to a sink auger. Neither are very expensive.

Pliers

You most likely have one of these laying around, but if not, a set of pliers is one of the first things you should buy as a budding DIYer. You’ll use them for everything, not just for plumbing emergencies, so invest in a good quality set and one that carries different sizes. If you need to adjust a pipe, loosen a bolt, or tighten a nut, a plier is your tool of choice.

Wrenches

Wrenches are the symbols of plumbers everywhere. There are several to choose from – adjustable, crescent, basin, etc – and it’s not a bad idea to stock up on one of each that you can find. Wrenches give you extra leverage and grip when it comes to loosening or tightening nuts that are extra stubborn, or just downright impossible to reach through conventional means. A basin wrench is an excellent example of the latter. These are designed to reach underneath the faucet sink and loosen bolts in places you can’t even see, much less reach.

Hacksaw

If worse comes to worst, you’ll need a hacksaw to cut through plastic or metal piping and reach the problem before it gets worse. The thin, serrated blade allows you to make precise cuts that power tools would be too risky to employ, like next to a pipe or electrical wire. Like most of the other tools on this list, you’ll use a hacksaw for a bunch of different projects too, besides plumbing.