Flush Away Your Worries

The Essential Plumbing Supply Guide

After you have lived in a house long enough, you will eventually have to deal with dripping faucets, clogged sinks, leaky pipes, and plugged-up toilets. Plumbing problems simply do happen, and there’s little you can do to avoid them.

Calling a plumber for each and every plumbing problems repair is quite impractical, rather expensive, and time consuming. In many cases, you may need to fix or control the problem yourself before the plumber arrives, or even call back to reschedule an appointment. But fixing most plumbing problems typically requires the right plumbing tools.

For many people, the home’s plumbing supply consists of a straightened wire clothes hanger, a butter knife, and some duct tape. However, these are simply not effective in many cases. Fortunately, it’s possible to purchase most of the tools you need for your homes plumbing supply at affordable prices, and you won’t necessarily have to buy them all at once. While the list is not comprehensive, some of the basic tools you need include a tape measure, hammer, screwdrivers, utility knife, drill driver, work gloves, and a tool box.

Essential Tools in Your Home’s Plumbing Supply

Propane Torch
This is required if you need to sweat the copper pipe and other fittings. You can spend the extra cash for the self-igniting torch head, which lights when you squeeze a trigger and costs between $30 to $60. You will find it much more convenient compared to using matches or a striker.

Hacksaw
Hacksaw can cut through hardware metal pipe, nuts and bolts, screws, and plastic pipe. Ensure that the blade is tense in the frame for the tough nuts, and keep some extra blades on hand. In the tight spots, you can wrap the end of a loose blade in a cloth and create a handle to slip in the blade for the cut.

Pliers
Pliers are the first tool you or the plumber will reach for to pull, grab, hold, tighten, twist, or loosen something. Tongue-and-groove pliers are a good choice for this.

Basic Wrench
This is an invaluable tool, which is ideal for tightening and loosening the nuts that hold the sink faucets in place. The long shaft of the tool and the swiveling jaw can reach into the deep, narrow space behind your sink and can effectively lock into the nuts. In fact, there’s no other tool that can do this better.

Pipe Wrench
Wrenches are used to tighten or loosen threaded pipes, fittings, and nuts. But you’ll need two; one for gripping and holding, while the other one is for turning. Serrated teeth enhance its grip, though they can damage the finish of the fixture. To protect your fixtures, you can wrap the jaws of the wrench with a cloth.

Adjustable Wrench
This versatility tool is ideal for supply lines, compression fittings, and other plumbing parts with hex-shaped nuts. Be sure to check if the moving jaw has a firm setting to make sure it won’t slip loose with much torque.

Plunger
A plunger is an indispensable tool, which has become synonymous with “the plumbers best tool” title. This will essentially be the first tool you grab onto when you need to de-clog floor drains, showers, toilets, sinks, and tubs. To use it on a toilet, press it down to create a firm seal around your drain, and pull upwards. The idea here is to create a vacuum to dislodge the clog out, not pushing it deeper.

Hand Auger
You might also know it as the plumber’s snake. A hand auger is a hand cranked tool for drain-cleaning with a long flexible steel cable, allowing it to clear obstacles inside toilets, tubs, drain lines, sinks, and showers. It comes in handy when the plunger fails to clear the clog.

Closet Auger
This is a manual tool for clearing clogs, and is specifically designed for use with toilets. It has a steel cable that is toughened enough to drudge through most of the stubbing clogs.

Tubing Cutter
A tubing cutter looks quite similar to a C clamp, and is a great tool that gives you the easiest and most convenient way of cutting copper pipes. You can buy both a quarter mini-cutter for the tight spaces, and a standard size tubing cutters.
These tools are essential in your home’s plumbing supply, and will all come in handy when dealing with most leaks and clogs around your home. This way, you probably won’t have to call a plumber to do the job for you. Which plumbing supplies have we left out? Have you tried any of these tools? Leave us a comment below.

Electrical Supply Essentials that Every Homeowner Needs

Even if you’re far from a crafty person, there are essential supplies to have at home. These can prove to be invaluable in the case of an emergency and they can potentially save you a lot of money in the long run.

When it comes to electrical supply essentials, there are a few key items and tools to acquire. Such supplies are ideal for addressing outages and simple electrical problems that may be stemming from a wiring malfunction.

Prior to moving on to the list of essential supplies, it’s important to point out that doing electrical repairs can be dangerous. If you don’t have the knowledge or the proper safety gear, you should call emergency electricians. Professionals can give you an idea over the phone about the processes you can complete while awaiting their arrival.

Outlets, Switches and Boxes
Outlets and switches are the parts of the electrical wiring that get used the most at home. Because of this characteristic, they’re prone to damage.

Outlets, sockets and switches could get broken or loosened with the passage of time. Rough use is particularly damaging. This is the main reason why it’s a good idea to always have a few spares at home.

These are electrical supply essentials that don’t cost a lot and that can be acquired from just about every store and home improvement website.

Remember that switches and outlets come in different varieties. Sensor switches are automatic and they illuminate the room upon detecting motion. Illuminated switches are very easy to use in the dark. The same applies to outlets. These could be rotating, equipped with USB drives and adapters. Explore all options prior to choosing the variety that appeals the most to you and offers a high level of functionality.

A Wire Tester
This is one of the most important pieces of electrical supply safety gear. Even if you’re not an electrician, you need to have at least one wire tester at home. The good news is that the tool happens to be rather inexpensive.

A wire tester tells you whether the power is on or off by detecting the voltage. Some of these instruments are rather simple while others feature a digital display. Regardless of the complexity level, wire testers work more or less in the same way.

Wire testers are ideal for testing sockets, switches, fuses and circuits. If these are malfunctioning, the tester will help you figure out whether there’s wiring problem or something else.

Safety Gear
While safety gear doesn’t rank as electrical supplies per se, it’s something essential that you’ll need every time you plan to run a diagnostic process or do a simple repair.

Most of the safety gear pieces are pretty basic and they can be used to do other kinds of household repairs.

Protective gloves will help you withstand cuts and scrapes. Some of them have rubber in them for the purpose of preventing electrical shocks. Other pieces of protective gear to consider purchasing include work shoes with robber soles and safety goggles.

Insulating Tape
That’s right – tape is one of the most important supplies for overcoming electrical disasters.

Simple duct tape isn’t going to do the trick, regardless of the fact that it’s pretty useful for other applications throughout the home. The variety that you’re looking for is vinyl electrical tape.

Vinyl electrical tape has insulating properties and it can be used to wrap broken cables or electrical appliances that have lost some of their insulation. When looking for insulating tape, make sure that it’s professional grade and extra strong. The adhesive power of the tape will also be important for easy application.

Wire Strippers and Wire Cutters
No DIY electrical supply toolkit is complete without wire strippers and wire cutters.

Wire strippers cost anywhere between 10 and 20 dollars and they’re used for the purpose of removing wire insulation. A good pair should fit most types and sizes of wire used commonly throughout the house. Some wire strippers also come with integrated wire cutters for a two-in-one instrument.

A wire cutter, as the name suggests, is used to cut wires. Larger pairs will be easier to use because less force will be required to get the job done. Always look for pieces that have rubberized handles for insulation and safety purposes.

You can find all of these essentials in a good hardware store. It’s a good idea to draft a list in advance. You can also draft some questions that will help for the selection of the best supplies for your needs. Experienced store assistants will guide you through the process, making it much easier for you to select supplies.

The Secret To Running Successful Hardware Stores

People with a passion for home improvement are often interested in running their own hardware stores. The right hardware store can be quite successful. After all, people are always going to need to purchase household tools and general supplies.

Have A Business Plan

No one should open a new business without developing a strong plan. You’ll have to determine how much money you will need to get your store open. You should also think about your cash flow. How much money can you expect to make in the average month?

Take the time to calculate all of these expenses. Figure out what your break-even point is going to be. Once you have a solid plan in place, you can look into launching your business.

Set Your Store Apart

Small, family-owned hardware stores can compete with major chain stores. However, the owners of these stores need to find a way to compete with bigger stores. You’ll need to give your customers a reason to choose your shop over Ace’s or Home Depot.

Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do to set your store apart. You might want to offer services that other shops don’t offer. If you sell used tools that are still in excellent condition, you might be able to charge more competitive prices. Renting out hardware supplies, such as a pressure washer, could also attract customers.

Your goal should be able to give yourself a competitive advantage that’s actually sustainable. Spend some time wandering the aisles of various chain stores. Pay attention to what they aren’t offering. Try to attack their weak points.

Know What You’re Selling

A lot of customers feel like they are out of their depth when they walk into a hardware store. They may know what the problem is, but that doesn’t mean that they know how to solve it. If you understand the products that you’re selling, you’ll be able to provide your customer with a lot of insight.

If a customer is interested in purchasing basic plumbing tools, you should direct them to essentials like basin wrenches and slip-joint pliers. If someone is going to be working with coax cables, you could help them select the a coax connector compression tool.

Most of your customers won’t be experts. However, they should be able to draw on your expertise. The more you know about home hardware, the better.

Keep Up To Date With The Latest Products

Milwaukee recently released a cordless rotary hammer with an impressive battery life. Makita’s new line of cordless tools that use a single battery system has been making a big splash. Dewalt’s new patented tape measure is a great purchase for professionals and amateurs alike.

There are new hardware products being released all the time. You need to be aware of these new releases. When a major brand like Bosch or Hitachi puts out a new tool, you should know all about it. A lot of customers are going to come into your store looking for these new tools. You need to be informed.

You can’t just rely on a baseline of knowledge if you want to run a successful store. You’ll have to make sure you gather new knowledge as well. If you keep on educating yourself, you’ll be able to pass along that knowledge to your customers.

Try Out Your Own Products

If you get in a set of Klein knives, you should try using them yourself. If you buy a new Ryobi router, you should try using it the next time you tackle a woodworking project. Test out some of your products. Figure out what they are well suited for. That way, you’ll be able to provide your customers with excellent recommendations every time that they ask you for advice.

With that said, owning an operating a store can be difficult. A lot of stores struggle to turn a profit. These tips will make it easier for you to operate a successful shop.

Running hardware stores can be extremely difficult. There are so many items that you have to stock, and customers often have a lot of questions. Thankfully, the tips above should help you to run your store successfully. If you follow those suggestions, your store should do very well.