When it comes to house maintenance & DIY, plumbing can be a drip. That’s why it is important to familiarise yourself with the inner workings of your home’s plumbing system. Not only could you save time and a lot of money by not having to call in a professional, but you could also spare yourself from potentially more costly damages. Let’s take a look at some of the low-level basics and inside info that will take the irritation out of your home’s irrigation.

A DIY Plumber’s TOP 10 tools includes:

• Adjustable wrench

Available in both 6 & 10 inch options, this tool is perfect for fittings, supply lines and other plumbing components that have hexagonal-shaped nuts.

• Pipe wrench 

A heavier tool for more secure fastening of nuts and fixtures. It’s recommended to have two in your toolbox, as one is used for grip and the other for twisting. Pro Tip: Wrap your wrench’s jaw in cloth to avoid damaging the fixtures.

• Water pump pliers

A versatile tool with serrated jaws and a curved head to assist in gripping in tight situations.

• Hacksaw

Used for cutting though metal and PVC piping. Always keep a few spare blades in your toolbox, and ensure the blade is fastened tensely for easier use.

• Metal file

Use this to smooth off the edges of cut piping.

• Thread seal (PTFE) tape 

A versatile item that can seal up leaks & fasten items together.

• Hand auger 

If a plunger doesn’t do the job, try an auger. A hand crank pushes a metal wire through the drains of bathtubs, showers or sinks, and unclogs them. Do not use a hand auger on flush toilets.

• Tuber cutter 

An essential tool used to cut copper pipes, ensuring a smooth and even cut every time. Especially in hard to reach places.

• Plunger 

An essential household item, available in both flange and cup styles. Flange plungers are shaped to clear clogs in toilets, while cup plungers clear clogs in flat-surface drainage outlets such as baths, sinks and showers.

• Stubby Screwdriver 

This short powerful tool is perfect for screws that are situated in tight places that an electric screwdriver can’t reach.

6 Plumbing terms to tap into:

  • Back flow Where water is travelling from one system back into any part of the main distribution system. This usually occurs via siphoning.
  • Black water Waste water from toilets, drains or waste water from drains receiving chemical waste.
  • Bushing A pipe fitting used to join two pieces that are different sizes. Usually threaded on both ends.
  • Grey water Waste water from bathtubs, sinks and showers and washing machines, that does not contain chemical or effluent materials. Pro Tip: Greywater does not have to be waste water! Check out these grey water harvesting solutions from Macneil. Want to know more? – speak to one of our instore specialist about these and other grey water solutions.
  • Green plumbing Any plumbing system or practise that promotes water conservation.
  • Nipples A short piece of threaded fitting which is used to connect two similarly-sized pieces of piping.

Some top plumbing to tips to let sink in: 


  • Know your shut-off layout Familiarise yourself with all the piping in your house and where it leads to, as well as where all the shut-off valves are. In an emergency this will be your first go-to to prevent more serious damage.
  • Use heat to loosen tough fittings Water pipe fittings can become hardened over time and nearly impossible to loosen with a wrench. Apply heat directly to the copper fitting for a few moments with a mini blowtorch. (SAFETY FIRST: ensure no flammable objects are in range)
  • Always check for leaks After finishing off any plumbing project, isolate the flow as much as you can and run water through the system to ensure that there are no leaks. Even the most professional plumber can miss a minor leak.
  • Use the correct piping for the project. Click here to see our article on how to pick the perfect pipe for your plumbing project.

Have a problem that’s draining you? Why not pipe up …

Luckily BUCO has an overflow of perfect products for your every plumbing need. Don’t let anyone spout half-truths at you, rather visit your nearest store today and ask our expert staff about all the tools and advice you need to keep your home’s water supply and plumbing on the level.