Adjustable spanners are very useful tools for a plumber as many plumbing fittings such as compression joints have nuts on them. What can sometimes be tricky is the lack of standardised nut sizes between different manufacturers and this is can be seen between fittings of the same size of pipes. This means that you will need a few different open-ended spanners in order to deal with all the nuts you will come across in your work. Adjustable spanners are always the best choice for doing up and undoing nuts as pliers and various gripping wrenches will not only damage the nuts but can also cause damage to the tool itself. When it comes to spanners you normally put them in of the three main categories: auto-pattern, girder pattern and crescent pattern spanners.
Different Types of Spanners
The auto-pattern spanner is easily, or automatically if you will, adjustable so it is easy to use and you can often see them in garages as they are frequently used on cars. The girder-pattern spanner have a slightly different set up compared with the auto-pattern spanner but the main disadvantages to both of them when it comes to plumbing is the difficulties of using them on pipes that are close to a wall. The best choice for a plumber here is to use a crescent-pattern spanner as it will allow you to use it in small and awkward spaces thanks to its angled jaws. This is because the angled jaws will allow you to reverse it in tight corners. As mentioned earlier, spanners are the best tools for loosening or tightening nuts and joints and because of this I would recommend you to have at least two different designs of spanners.
Another type of spanner that is often used in plumbing is the bath (or basin) spanner. These are used when dealing with the nuts and joints that hold the taps in place under baths. Another name for these types of spanner is a crowsfoot spanner and they can be found in two different sizes. Another type of spanner, which falls under the bath/basin spanner category, is the basin wrench. The basin wrench has two sizes of serrated jaws and the head is joined to the handle with an adjustable joint, allowing you to get into the most inaccessible corners in order to do your job. It has a good grip and a long handle which should make it easier for you to loosen them tight nuts. If you come across a nut that is really tight, you can use a metal bar in order to increase the actual ‘twisting force’ of the spanner. However, the risk of using a metal bar is that there is a greater risk of cracking the ceramic basins so only try this as a last resort and by slowly increasing the pressure. Another approach to loosen a nut is via the gentle application of heat to the nut.