Maintaining buildings is a big task that requires constant inputs of work contributions from various handymen, tradespersons, and skilled people. Maintaining systems and means for water and sewage lines is a crucial task for all buildings – irrespective of their types. Let us look at all the information regarding plumbers in this article.
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As nothing exists in a vacuum, the origin of the word ‘plumber’ can also be traced back to the Roman Empire. Roman houses typically had water and drainage pipes, made of lead, running through the roofs. Their baths were also made of lead.
Interestingly, the Latin word for lead is plumbum, which is why anyone with skills to install or maintain the lead pipes or roofs was known as the plumber. It is also reflected in an extract from those times about skilled men fixing a roof in Westminster Palace.
What is a Plumber?
Now that we know where the word plumber comes from, let us move on to what is a plumber. A plumber is a skilled tradesperson who does the installation, repairs, and maintenance of water and sewage pipes. A plumber also handles all the workings related to pipe fittings, sanitation systems, and even heating systems.
What Does a Plumber Do?
Answering what does a plumber do is quite tricky, as a plumbing job includes a variety of things. Fundamentally, a plumber deals with the installation and repairs of the water and heating pipes and fittings in your home.
We also call a plumber for troubleshooting water or sewage draining systems, pipes, or worn or parts. Plumbers also have to sometimes cut through floors, ceilings, and walls for installing pipes or sanitary fittings. All in all, a plumber does all the handy work related to pipes, fittings, sanitation, and other related works such as:
Fitting fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen
Designing pipe schematics
Repair and maintenance of appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers
Different Levels of Plumbers
Different levels of plumbing reflect the amount of expertise and knowledge a plumber has. These levels exist to guide the people in need of their services in a detailed manner so that they know what is a plumber and how well he can perform. Remember that having a high school diploma will be an added plus for your plumbing career and make you stand out among other professionals.
It is the most beginner level for plumbers. It is when someone wants to become a plumber, he shadows more experienced plumbers around him and gets on the job training. Usually, an apprentice plumber accompanies the experienced one and observes them while helping in handing out the tools and doing other small stuff. Apprentice plumbers cannot work on their own or start their own companies.
A level higher than the apprentice plumber is a journeyman plumber, having on-job training but not able to run their own businesses. To become a plumber of journeyman level, your work might be highly complex and require more than just handling tools.
A journeyman plumber can work on his own but requires a valid license showcasing training and four years of service as an apprentice plumber. Being a licensed plumber can be a rewarding career. if
Being the highest level of plumber, a master plumber can operate on his own, run his own business, hire juniors for the firm, and complete projects, including installation of the whole pipe fitting and fixtures.
Types of Plumbers
According to the bureau of labor statistics, the plumbing industry in the US is the sixth largest in terms of employment. If you want to become a plumber, you need to know how diversified a plumbing career can be and what is the expected job of a licensed plumber.
Residential plumbers do all the plumbing tasks that calls for them in residential settings – including installing and maintaining fixtures and water and heating systems. Due to their scale of work, residential plumbers usually have pipe installation and repair works at hand. They also do the job of pipe cutters, establishing the piping and water systems during the construction or renovation of a house.
As the name suggests, a commercial plumber is a qualified professional who works in commercial settings, such as doing plumbing work for schools, hospitals, institutes, offices, and other types of commercial buildings. They are familiar with commercial tools and the large-scale work type and ethics.
Commercial plumbers also repair and maintain huge water tanks and drainage systems in commercial buildings.
Service and Repair Plumber
This type of plumber typically deals with service and repair works, including maintenance tasks in residential and commercial settings. Service and repair plumber gains experience through on-job training and is more skilled than the other types of plumbers in repair and maintenance jobs. Their job includes fixing leaks, installing plumbing fixtures, eliminating clogs, servicing plumbing systems, adjusting the pressure in the pipes, etc.
Water Supply Plumber
These plumbers work with water supply systems, and their work mainly includes looking after water tanks and pipes. They ensure a smooth supply of water to bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
A sanitary plumber is a professional who deals with all the plumbing work related to the sanitary system. Common tasks of a sanitary plumber include, installing sanitary fittings, clearing out jams in the pipes, and overseeing drains.
The main job of a construction plumber is to read construction blueprints for plumbing systems. They work with the construction team to correctly follow the blueprint and install faucets, toilets, sinks, showers, and laundry appliances.
Basic Tools Required to Own Plumbing Business
Now that we have a brief insight about the types of plumbers and their different levels, let us look at some of the basic tools that plumbers use to get their jobs done. Of course, the variety and use of tools vary according to the job at hand, this list comprises some common tools used by plumbers.
A pipe wrench comes in handy for almost all plumbing jobs, as it is used to tighten or loosen pipe fittings and nuts.
It is another basic tool owned and used by every plumber. It is T-shaped and is typically used on faucets by a clamp-like mechanism that allows loosening or tightening faucets nuts.
Plumbers use pliers to harden their grip on pipes, tighten to loosen nuts, or pulling a joint out.
It is the most versatile plumbing tool that ever existed. It is adjustable, as the name suggests, making it extremely useful for tightening loose faucets or showerheads.
Pipe and tube cutter
If we have to describe plumbing in one job then it would be related to pipe fittings, tightening, or loosening. Thus, a pipe cutter is an essential handy tool for plumbers to own. It makes cutting pipes and tubes easier.
These are mechanical press tools that are specialized to be used in the plumbing industry for connecting plumbing systems pipes and other fittings.
Careers for Plumbers
There are several diverse plumbing careers that aspiring plumbers can get into. Some of them include:
Solar thermal installers
Industrial gas fitters
Plumbers are usually hired on an hourly basis, as their work mode is project-based. The rates per hour are set by both parties in unison, considering the work and the level of expertise involved. On average, plumbers are usually paid $25 per hour. A master plumber would be paid higher than professionals who are still a part of a plumbing apprenticeship.
This article concisely describes who a plumber is and the basics to know if you own a plumbing business or want to become a plumber. Plumbers are skilled professionals who look after the water supply and drainage systems in our houses and commercial buildings. A plumbing business has different types and levels of plumbers. . They are also trained to deal with issues concerning plumbing systems, sanitary fittings or appliances.
Depending on the expertise and skills of a plumber, there are three levels of plumbing professionals, including those a part of an apprenticeship program, journey plumbers, and master plumbers.
What is a short definition of a plumber?
A plumber is a person who is skilled to fit and repair pipes, appliances, and fixtures of water supply, sanitation, and heating systems in buildings.
Are master plumbers the highest level of plumbers?
Master plumber is the highest level of plumber who can work alone, start his own business, and hire juniors for assigning work.
What skills do the plumbers have?
Some important plumbing skills include, installing and repairing the water and drainage pipes, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, clearing out clogged lines, installing and maintaining appliances using water, and installation of gas pipes for heating systems.