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Inexpensive Plumbing Repair Supplies That You Should Keep Around The House

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If you like to try to perform simple plumbing repairs on your own, there are a few supplies that you should keep in your plumbing first aid kit. Each of these items are useful for many simple plumbing repairs and, best of all, only cost a few dollars apiece. These supplies include:

Pipe repair tape

Although relatively new on the plumbing scene, pipe repair tape is gaining in popularity because of its versatility and ease-of-use. It is not actually tape, because it doesn't adhere to anything but its own surface, but it does that extremely well. When applied properly, it forms a waterproof seal that stops pipe leaks. It can be used on both supply pipes and drain pipes around the home.

To use pipe repair tape, you must first clean the affected area of the pipe that may affect its ability to seal properly. Supply pipes must first be drained by turning off the supply valve that feeds the pipe and opening the faucets that the supply pipe feeds.

As the repair tape is wound around the affected area, it must be stretched as tightly as possible, and overlapped repeatedly as it is stretched. This causes a bond to form. The end piece must be stretched and pressed against the overlapped tape, not the pipe itself, or the entire length of tape will eventually unravel. The pipe is ready for use immediately after application.

Pipe Tape

Not to be confused with pipe repair tape, this is a roll of thin plastic ribbon used to seal threaded pipe connections. Whenever you see a leak at a supply line connection, such as at the base of a toilet, you can use this product.

To use pipe tape, you must first turn off the water supply to the affected supply line, by turning off the appropriate valve. You will next need to drain the line, by turning on a faucet or draining a toilet tank. The connecting nut will then need to be removed by turning it counterclockwise with an adjustable wrench (another useful item for your plumbing repair kit). 

You will then apply the pipe tape in a clockwise direction to the exposed threads, covering all of the threaded area. You must apply it in the same direction in which you will reattach the connecting nut (clockwise), or you will unravel the pipe tape and limit its effectiveness.

Plumbers putty

This is used to seal faucet bases and sink drains, and can become dried and brittle over time, allowing leaks to occur. It can be applied to a faucet by loosening the nuts that hold a faucet in place, and applying a thin (1/4") bead of putty around the inside of the faucet base.

Applying it to a leaking sink drain requires loosening the plastic nut that secures the drain pipe to the "J' shaped drain trap beneath it, then lifting the drain from the sink opening. You will then apply a thin bead of putty to the recess around the sink drain opening before pressing the drain into the putty.

Wing nuts

Although technically not a plumbing supply item, they can prove themselves invaluable when you need to tighten a nut that is difficult to access. The nuts that are used to secure a faucet or attach a toilet tank to a bowl are often very difficult for anyone but a contortionist to access. 

If you have a variety of wing nuts available, you can substitute them for the existing square nuts on your next plumbing project. While it may not affect the difficulty of that project, it will make future plumbing jobs much easier.

To learn more, contact a plumbing repair shop like Angeles Plumbing