Plumbing problems are inevitable: being prepared for potential household plumbing problems will make your life much easier. One way to do this is to have an emergency plumbing kit in your home. Although every homeowner doesn’t need to know how to fix every plumbing problem, you should still have a basic understanding of your plumbing and know what to do during both minor and major plumbing emergencies. Having an emergency plumbing kit in your home will make sure you’re prepared to take the first steps needed to handle any sort of plumbing problem, and minimize the damage can be caused while you’re waiting for a plumber to arrive.

Plunger

Every home should have at least one plunger for each toilet. It’s also a good idea to have a separate plunger just for use on sinks and appliances just for the gross out factor. The few extra dollars a plunger costs will more than make up for not having to use the toilet plunger on your kitchen sink.

Five-Gallon Bucket

A five-gallon bucket really comes in handy when you have a leaking pipe, or it for when you’re cleaning up big water messes. Make sure you always place a bucket under a pipe while you’re working on it. Even if you’ve turned off the water, if you have a clogged drain, the mess inside has to go somewhere when you open it up. Better it go inside a bucket than under the sink or on the floor.

Gloves

Disposable nitrile gloves are an important part of your emergency plumbing kit. Dealing with the contents of plugged drain lines and toilets is messy; dealing with these issues is much more pleasant when you don’t have to do it bare handed. Be sure the gloves are made of nitrile, not latex, as latex tends to degrade.

Toolbox and Tools

Any toolbox that includes a basic set of wrenches is a good idea. Even a couple of adjustable wrenches is better than nothing. Water shutoff valves at outdoor spigots, pipe junctions, and clothes washers can begin to leak when the nut at the valve stem gets loose. A little tightening usually fixes the problem.

Allen wrenches also come in handy for removing handles on faucets. Faucets typically either have a Phillips head or Allen screws holding them on. Having the right tool to remove a handle to replace a valve cartridge or washer is handy. Plus, handles often work loose over time, and these tools will allow you to tighten them yourself.

Flashlight

A bright flashlight, especially one that’s hands free, will make your life infinitely easier when you have a plumbing issue to inspect. It’s dark in most places where pipes and drains are located. A headlamp style light would be ideal for this purpose. Always remember to keep fresh batteries around the house in case the ones you’re using die exactly when you need them.

Putty and Tape

You should always keep Teflon tape and Plumber’s putty on hand. These both come in handy when replacing a faucet. The putty is used as a seal between the faucet and sink. The Teflon tape is used on metal-to-metal thread connections of water lines to the faucet. Wrapping the Teflon tape around the brass threads of faucets a few times helps to prevent leaks.

Duct Tape/Strong Adhesive

Duct tape is a great aid in temporarily sealing up leaks in drain lines. Just remember that this is a temporary fix though. Thinking you’re all set because you’ve stopped a leak with duct tape can spell disaster down the road.

Washer and Cartridge

Keeping washers or a replacement cartridges for faucets in the house can prevent you from needing to call in a plumber for an easy fix. Most manufacturers’ websites will have instructions on how to replace a cartridge or washer.

Get your emergency plumbing kit ASAP: You never know when disaster will strike!

This emergency plumbing kit will be a lifesaver when you find yourself with minor plumbing problems around the house. By being able to tackle these minor plumbing problems on your own, there’s a chance you might be able avoid calling in a professional plumber. However, if you don’t think you can handle a plumbing issue on your own, don’t risk doing more damage to your plumbing system by tackling a job you truly aren’t qualified to take on. Once you have your plumbing emergency under control, be sure to call a professional to prevent any further damage to your plumbing system.