Have you ever tried to fix a leaky faucet only to find yourself contorted like a pretzel trying to reach the pipes behind the sink? Or have you ever had to turn a repair job into a demolition project just to get to a clogged drain? Small spaces can be a major pain for plumbers, but fear not!
In this post, we’ll share the tools and tricks of the trade to make your next tight squeeze job a breeze. So put away the Advil and get ready to tackle those tiny spaces like a pro.
The challenges of working in small spaces
Ah, the joys of small spaces. Cluttered corners, awkward angles, and oh-so-little room to move. It’s enough to make even the bravest plumber break out in a cold sweat. But don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
In fact, small spaces present three main challenges for plumbers: limited access and maneuverability, difficulty using traditional tools, and the risk of damaging surrounding areas.
Limited access and maneuverability: One of the biggest challenges of working in small spaces is undoubtedly limited access and maneuverability. It can be difficult to reach pipes and fixtures that are tucked away in tight corners or behind other objects. This can make it hard to properly diagnose problems and make repairs.
Difficulty using traditional tools: Traditional plumbing tools, such as pipe wrenches and augers, can be difficult to use in small spaces. They may be too large or unwieldy to fit in the space, or they may not have enough leverage to turn or move objects.
Risk of damage to surrounding areas: Working in small spaces can also increase the risk of damaging surrounding areas, such as walls, floors, and fixtures. It can be easy to accidentally bump into or scrape these surfaces while trying to maneuver in a tight space. This can lead to costly repairs and unhappy customers.
Tight space plumbing tool essentials
When it comes to small-space plumbing, having the right tools can make all the difference. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the best tools for tackling tight-squeeze projects.
A basin wrench is a specialized tool that is designed to tighten or loosen bolts in hard-to-reach places, such as under a sink or behind a toilet. It has a long, slender handle and a reversible jaw that can grip a variety of bolt sizes. A basin wrench is a great choice for small-space plumbing because it can access areas that other tools cannot, making it easier to tighten or loosen bolts in tight spaces.
Miniature cameras are a newer plumbing tool that has revolutionized small-space plumbing. These tiny cameras are inserted into pipes through a small opening and can provide a live video feed of what is happening inside the pipes. This allows plumbers to diagnose problems and make repairs without having to tear out walls or floors. Miniature cameras are a great choice for small spaces because they can access areas that are otherwise difficult to see. They are also non-invasive and can save time and money on repairs.
Pliers are versatile hand tools that can be used for a variety of tasks, including gripping, cutting, and bending. There are many different types of pliers, including needle-nose pliers, lineman’s pliers, and slip-joint pliers. Pliers are a good choice for small spaces because they are compact and lightweight, and they can be used to reach into tight spaces or grip small objects.
Sawzalls, also known as reciprocating saws, can be a great tool for cutting PVC pipes in tight spaces. A Sawzall is a type of power saw that has a reciprocating (back and forth) motion, which allows it to cut through a variety of materials, including PVC. One of the main benefits of using a Sawzall for cutting PVC in tight spaces is that it can easily reach into tight corners and hard-to-reach areas. The blade can be changed out for different sizes and types, depending on the material being cut and the thickness of the pipes. Additionally, a Sawzall is often more efficient and less labor-intensive than using a manual saw, making it a good choice for small-space plumbing projects.
Techniques for working in small spaces
Here are some tips for tackling small space plumbing projects:
- Using mirrors: Mirrors may seem like a simple solution, but they can be a game-changer when it comes to small spaces. By using a small, handheld mirror, you can see around corners and into tight spaces without having to contort your body into unnatural positions. Trust me, your chiropractor will thank you.
- Disassembling fixtures: Sometimes, the best way to make a repair is to take things apart. Disassembling fixtures, such as sinks and toilets, can give you better access to the pipes and make it easier to make repairs. Just be sure to keep track of all the parts and put them back together correctly – you don’t want to end up with a sink that sprays water everywhere (been there, done that).
- Opting for flexible materials: In small spaces, flexibility is key. That’s why I always opt for materials like PEX piping whenever possible. PEX is a type of flexible plastic piping that is easy to work with and can bend around tight corners and through small openings. Plus, it’s durable and resistant to corrosion, making it a great choice for small-space plumbing projects.
- Using hand-held power tools: Hand-held power tools, such as drills and saws, can be useful for making small, precise cuts or openings in tight spaces. They are often more efficient than manual tools and can save time and effort.