8 Useful Plumbing Tools

Thu 5th Jun 2014 - 7:17pm DIY Troubleshooting 8 Useful Plumbing Tools

Benjamin Clarke

1. Plumbtubs
These small but important plastic tubs make the task of bleeding a radiator so much easier than using a generic, ill-suited container. The Plumbtubs simply clip around the pipes on your radiator, allowing the water to drain into them without causing any spillages. Coming as a pair, each tub can contain up to 1.4L water and save you the hassle of having to clear up after yourself!

2. Radiator Air Bleed Key
If you’ve watched any of our DIY videos, you can’t fail to have noticed how essential brass radiator keys are when tackling almost any job to do with your heating system. Letting air out of your radiators is a fundamental component of central heating DIY and it’s these small but vital keys that make it possible!

3. Adjustable spanner
Every plumber’s best friend, the adjustable spanner is a lifesaver when it comes to radiator maintenance. It’s a good idea to have big and small ones to cope with all possibilities and it’s usually worth getting two of each. Using one adjustable to hold a nut while unscrewing another is a common procedure so we can’t recommend having these in your toolbox enough!

4. Piece of hose pipe
An often overlooked piece of equipment to have in your DIY arsenal is a hose pipe. Almost any job that you carry out on your radiators or heating system will require it to be drained of water. If you’ve never done any work on your radiators before, you may not realise that attaching a hosepipe to your drain-off valve and running it outside is a vital part of the process, so make sure you’ve got one to turn to when you need it most!

5. Radiator Hex Key
If you’re going to be changing over radiator connectors or fiddling with the plugs or bleed valves, you’re going to need a radiator hex key. A good solid one will slot into the hole and remove stubborn radiator tails easily. Not to be confused with a radiator bleed key, this is a hexagonal shaped key that will not let air out.

6. Central Heating Inhibitor
Incredibly important to the smooth running of your heating system, inhibitor helps stop corrosion from occurring in your radiators. Internal corrosion causes rust and flakes of metal to fall off the radiator, mix with the water and create a brown sludge in the bottom of your radiators. The sludge will stop your radiators from working properly and is a common reason behind radiators having hot and cold patches. Do yourself a favour and minimise corrosion by adding inhibitor to your system.

7. PTFE tape
Polytetrafluoroethylene tape, to give it it’s full name, is another staple of every self-respecting plumber’s toolbox. This thread sealing tape is essential in radiator maintenance, particularly when replacing valves, as it is used to wrap around the threads to prevent water leaks. There are various colours available depending on what the tape is being used for, but the most common PTFE tape for radiator use is the white stuff.

8. Jointing Compound
A silicone-based jointing compound is often used along with PTFE tape. It’s great for putting on threaded fittings and it’s very useful in helping to prevent leaks. It can handle really high and really low temperatures, plus it remains flexible even when dry, so works perfectly in stopping leaks on hot or cold water pipes.

Article by Benjamin Clarke

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