What’s in a Plumbing and Heating Contractor’s Essential Toolbox?

What’s in a Plumbing and Heating Contractor’s Essential Toolbox?

Edward Nicosia, Independent Plumbing and Heating Contractor, Greater Boston Area, Massachusetts

After 29 years of experience as a plumbing and heating contractor, plus four as an apprentice, Edward Nicosia can not only rattle off his favorite tools but tell you precisely how they earned their place in his van.

There is the cordless PVC shear that always cuts straight without messy chips and flakes, the hole saw that changes bits in seconds and the four-bay sequential M12 lithium battery charger from Milwaukee he uses to keep a half dozen cordless products — including a heated sweatshirt — up and running.

“I plug it into the power outlet of my truck and mount it to the sidewall to keep batteries fully charged as I drive between job sites,” explains Nicosia, owner of Citywide Plumbing Co. “It helps all my other tools be as good as they can be.”

He can recall the time one toolbox earned its way into his van by falling off it, while another did not.

“One was a RIDGID box, the other was not,” Nicosia said. “The RIDGID box stayed closed and the contents were intact and undamaged. The other box split open and the stuff spilled out everywhere. This was a huge lesson: Go RIDGID or don’t bother.”


Milwaukee® Cordless PVC Shear, Model #2470-21
It quickly and easily cuts through the standard PVC pipe used in modern construction and renovation projects. It consistently makes straight cuts without the messy chips and flakes that saw cutting produces, the controls are perfectly located and the tool requires very little operator effort.

Diablo® 17-Piece Plumbers Hole Saw Kit, Model # DHS 17spl
This kit is fast! We can set up the hole saw(s), change sizes and clear cutting from inside the bits in seconds! This is the way to go. No other brand works so fast and easily.

Reded Products Corporation Plumber’s Trap Pump, Model # 2
I began building and selling this to local trades and maintenance people a few years ago. It is clean, light weight and super effective at removing water from plumbing fixtures. It keeps us a lot cleaner and keeps our customers’ bathrooms a lot cleaner. 
Milwaukee® Four-Bay Sequential M12™ Battery Charger, Model # 48-59-1204
The four charging bays mean we will always have a fully charged battery when we need it. No more waiting around charging our M12 batteries one by one. Total no-brainer. More is better.

RIDGID® Molded Tool Case
This case is near indestructible. We have owned several for two years and they will likely last forever. We bounce them in and out of the truck, they fall to the ground, they get stepped on, they tip over, etc. They just don’t break. They’re super durable with an excellent rubber seal and latches. The contents of these cases are totally protected from whatever is going on outside the case.

Milwaukee M12™ Force Logic Press Tool, Model # 2473-12
This tool makes the task of joining water pipes safer, easier and more reliable than it has ever been. Traditionally plumbers install copper water pipes and connect them to each other by soldering with an open flame. During soldering, the pipes have to be clean and dry.

Alternatively, there are plastic water pipes that are joined with solvent cements. These solvent cements give off fumes that are not healthy to the installer or the environment, and the process is time consuming, as the cements need to fully cure before we can apply water pressure.

This press tool allows us to join both copper and new type plastic water pipes without open flame or solvent cements. Using specialty pipe fittings, the Pro press tool will mechanically join connections on copper and plastic water pipes in one simple step. The tool will even make connections when there is water in the pipes — something that is completely unobtainable with open flame or solvent cements.

We use this almost daily, have installed hundreds if not thousands of pipe connections and have not experienced any leaks or failed connections. The tool is amazing.

RIDGID® 18V Hammer Drill and Impact Driver Kit, Model # R9205
Power. These tools are unbelievably powerful for cordless technology. Every feature you could want. Variable speed and torque options let users pick exactly the right setting for the job they are doing. Nothing is too tough for this pair. The drill easily passes through steel, wood and concrete. The impact driver will drive large screws and bolts effortlessly. We never run out of power and are never disappointed.

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