What Does a Plumber Do?


Plumbers are responsible for the water systems that give us clean drinking water, bathing, and cooking. They risk infections such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, and cryptosporidiosis when repairing sewage pipes that contain human waste. They must have the stamina to engage in physically demanding work, as they are often on-call at odd times. Plumbers also need to be able to identify and resolve problems.

HandymanPlumbers install, inspect and repair pipes and fixtures that carry water, gas and waste. Their job duties include reading blueprints to assess and plan pipe installations and installing and repairing fixtures like bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and dishwashers. Handyman Naperville IL also repairs or replaces clogged drains and sewer lines. They use various tools and equipment, including hand and power tools, cutters, wrenches, pliers, pipe-cutting machines, welding equipment and soldering guns. Plumbers also analyze problems and make recommendations for repair or replacement.

Plumber jobs often require them to travel between customer locations and perform work at various times of the day and night, including weekends and holidays. They may also be required to be on call for emergency repairs. They must be strong enough to lift heavy pipes and other materials and comfortable working in cramped spaces. They need excellent communication and customer service skills, as they are sometimes the only people a customer interacts with.

Plumbing professionals must have a high school diploma or equivalent and undergo extensive on-the-job training. A few attend technical schools to learn their trade, but most learn through an apprenticeship. These programs usually last four to five years, with the first two spent working as an assistant. Plumbers must have a great deal of mechanical aptitude, but they also need good critical thinking and problem-solving skills to weigh the pros and cons of different solutions.

Experienced plumbers should be able to read and interpret blueprints, building codes, and specifications to determine layout and material requirements for a project. They are responsible for determining the amount of materials and equipment needed to complete an installation, and they must be able to read and understand gauges and other instrumentation used in the field. They may be responsible for supervising and directing unskilled workers, so it is important that they have good management skills. They also need to be able to keep accurate records and provide detailed reports. They must be familiar with and adhere to all applicable safety regulations and practice preventive maintenance on their tools and equipment. They must also be able to follow oral and written instructions and be capable of performing basic math functions.

Education and Training Requirements. Plumbers are skilled tradespeople who install and repair the pipes that carry water, sewage, and waste products in residential and commercial buildings. The job is highly demanding and requires a great deal of hands-on work in cramped conditions. Plumbers must be comfortable working outdoors in all weather conditions as well as inside crawl spaces and basements. Plumbers typically complete a formal apprenticeship program or earn a post-secondary certificate or associate degree in plumbing technology. In addition, most states and localities require a plumber to be licensed; this generally requires two to five years of experience and passing an exam.

Plumber apprentices undergo intensive training in all aspects of plumbing, from laying pipe to installing sinks and toilets. They are taught to use a variety of tools and how to read blueprints. Apprentices also receive on-the-job training under the supervision of a master plumber. During this time, they learn the skills necessary to take on more complex projects and troubleshoot problems.

Many people choose to become a plumber because of the potential for good wages and upward mobility in the field. However, not everyone is suited for the career. The physical nature of the work can be taxing on a person’s back, shoulders, and knees. Additionally, plumbers spend a lot of time crouching or crawling in tight spaces, which can be difficult for people with claustrophobia.

In order to succeed as a plumber, individuals should have a high school diploma or equivalency and pass a background check and drug test. Most states and municipalities also require licensing, which usually requires a certain number of years of on-the-job experience as an apprentice and then several more as a journey plumber. Plumbers who want to be licensed as master plumbers must also pass an exam.

In addition to the technical and mechanical knowledge required for the profession, plumbers need excellent customer service skills, as they often interact directly with customers. They must be able to answer questions about the plumbing systems in their customers’ homes or businesses and describe the costs associated with different repair options. Plumbers must also be knowledgeable about building codes and regulations in their jurisdiction.

Those interested in becoming plumbers can choose from several different routes. They can attend a trade school that offers certificate programs in plumbing or pursue an apprenticeship to gain on-the-job experience. Some states and cities require that those who work as plumbers be licensed, which typically involves passing an exam and having a certain number of years of experience in the field.

Many people become plumbers because they want to help people and feel good about the work that they do. As a result, they are often very dedicated to their jobs and can work well under pressure. They must also be able to communicate effectively with customers, as they need to explain what needs to be done and the related costs. Additionally, they should be able to troubleshoot issues and determine the best way to make repairs.

In addition to having the right skills and training, plumbers must be physically fit and able to do heavy lifting. This is because they sometimes have to carry large pipes and other equipment, as well as stand for long periods of time while working. Plumbers should also be able to solve problems quickly and accurately, as they often need to make decisions under tight deadlines.

Although most plumbers work for plumbing companies, some decide to go independent and start their own businesses. They can do this by getting a master plumber license. To qualify, they must pass a written and practical exam. The exam requirements vary from state to state, but they are usually based on local codes. The American Guild of Master Plumbers website has a list of licensing requirements by state.

New York City, for example, has its own unique requirements for aspiring plumbers. In order to be licensed as a master plumber in the city, you must have two years of experience as an apprentice and three more years of experience as a journeyman. You must also have signed, notarized affidavits from master plumbers who can vouch for your work history and verify that you worked under them for at least one year. You will also need to submit your Social Security number and pay a fee.

Plumbers must be comfortable working in a variety of settings. They often work outdoors or in residential settings, but they also spend time in commercial environments such as hospitals, universities and manufacturing plants. They are often required to be on call and must have stamina for performing physically challenging tasks as well as addressing emergency situations such as broken pipes or flooding.

Plumbing is a trade that requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. It is then possible to complete an apprenticeship program to learn the trade and become a journey worker. Alternatively, many community colleges offer courses on plumbing and pipe fitting installation along with related subjects like welding and other skills necessary for the job.

Once a plumber has completed an apprenticeship, they can apply for master status by passing a plumbing exam. Plumbers must be able to identify and locate the source of leaks in pipes, read blueprints and other technical drawings, install pipes and fixtures, make repairs, and maintain plumbing systems. They may also need to test backflow prevention devices and use other specialized tools for plumbing work.

A plumber must also be able to communicate and interact with assistants, managers, supervisors, customers and other personnel. They must be able to explain complex ideas and concepts to those without a technical background and respond to questions in a friendly, customer-service-oriented manner.

Plumbers must also keep up to date on all the latest codes, rules, and regulations for their state or country. They should know how to handle hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead paint, mold and toxic chemicals. They must be able to handle heavy loads and lift equipment such as sinks, toilets and tanks.

Some plumbers choose to be self-employed and work for themselves, while others find employment with large construction companies or in the government. There are also opportunities to work on a contract basis for individuals or small businesses. This type of work can be very demanding and requires a great deal of travel. A plumber can also be exposed to a number of risks, including being in wet or humid conditions, extreme heat and cold, fumes or airborne particles, and infectious diseases, such as cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.