Yes, size does matter ladies and gentleman - especially when it comes to your plumbing system and the tools it takes to make repairs. It is vital that you know how to properly use what is probably the biggest wrench in your toolbox, the pipe wrench. And just as important, is knowing when to use it and what to use it on.
The primary purpose of a pipe wrench is to grip and turn a soft pipe or fixture, which can sometimes include sizeable hardware that a crescent wrench or pair of pliers are just not big enough to grip.
Pipe wrenches come in different sizes, which are normally stamped right on the wrench handle. They are adjustable wrenches and there are guidelines on which size wrench is needed for specific diameter pipes and fittings.
The wrenches are designed like a clamp with a stable lower jaw and an adjustable upper jaw for gripping hardware. When using the pipe wrench you want to center the upper and lower jaw on the pipe making sure not to let the pipe touch the back of the upper adjustable jaw.
Once you have the pipe centered between the jaws, tighten the upper jaw down until a firm grip is accomplished and the teeth from both the upper and lower jaw are biting into the pipe. You’ll want to check for a firm non slipping grip before you begin any work. Now you can tighten or loosen the pipe or fixture as needed.
It is not recommended that you use a pipe wrench on hard pipes or fittings because the teeth on wrench may not grip it properly. This can cause the wrench to slip off suddenly and that can be dangerous.
Another common misuse of a pipe wrench is using them on large hex bolts or nuts - the uneven grip can cause the pipe wrenches teeth to break or wear down due to improper grip fit. Not to mention you can strip nuts or bolts and damage fittings if you use a pipe wrench in the wrong scenario.
Prefer to leave your plumbing projects to the pros? That’s what we’re here for and don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Contact Hero Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to schedule an appointment.