A plumber is a professional who installs, maintains, and repairs the piping used in plumbing systems. They typically work with water, drainage, and wastewater pipes that are used to transport water for domestic or industrial purposes.
Plumbers typically have a degree in plumbing or another related field like engineering. Some states require plumbers who are certified. This often involves an exam so that they can show that they understand the building code.
Install a plumbing system
Depending on what kind of plumbing system you need, your plumber may be different. There are 3 main tasks that a plumber has: install a system, repair it and maintain the system. Given that a lot of equipment is needed, plumbers often specialize.
For example, if you need a new water installation in your home, the plumber should probably be a certified master plumber as they need to know the local code. The inspector might reject the work if it doesn’t follow the rules and you might have to tear everything down.
Some plumbers focus on new installations as this involves quite a lot of knowledge (eg what diameter of pipes to use, where to install everything, what water heater to install, and so on).
A typical system has 2 parts:
-Hot and cold water. Plumbers are using PEX now for new systems and this is a lot easier to install than copper or steel that was used before. There are even DIY kits on the market so that you can install your own system with support from a company. It is possible that plumbers install natural gas and a water heater as well. Heat pumps are becoming more popular and are replacing water heaters based on natural gas in some locations.
-Sewage system: here PVC is often used for residential use, PE or PP is used for commercial use. PVC should last for about 20 years. People tend to renovate a house after this period anyway. Plumbers install sinks, showers, and toilets. This water is transported through pipes to the sewage system of the city.
Repairing a system: water leaks and clogs
If you need a repair job done, a general plumber can check the basics. If more work needs to be done an expert in this area might need to be called. With the advent of new technologies such as heat pumps, a lot of plumbers tend to focus on some of these as it is difficult to be on top of everything.
Repairs are typically for clogs in the drains, a water or gas leak. Let’s take a look at how clogs can get fixed:
Larger companies can have multiple experts in-house and send the right employee your way. Fixing a water leak is quite straightforward if it is visible. If it is not clear where it is located, a specialist might be needed to find it. A clog is often straightforward to fix but cutting tree roots out of the sewage system requires special equipment.
That is the advantage of working with a larger plumbing company versus a local plumber. A local plumber can be cheaper though so it can be a great place to start if it is a simple problem. These plumbers often work 24/7 so that they can repair water leaks. Water leaks can create a lot of damage in short periods of time so they need to be repaired as soon as possible.
These plumbers can often charge more as they have to work odd hours and have to deal with poop and other smelly liquids.
In the past, it was quite easy to repair a tap or pump. Nowadays these are often thrown away as it would cost too much time to fix.
Maintaining a system: water heater and septic tank
Some plumbers specialize in maintaining and optimizing the equipment. Water heaters should be maintained every two years (but check the rules in your state). This makes sure that it is properly cleaned and maintained. In most instances, this takes about 1 hour. They can often change some settings so that your system works more efficiently.
These plumbers can also check if everything is OK with the plumbing system of the house when it is being sold. For example, a sewer test can show if there are cracks in the system or not. A lot of people don’t do this test when they buy a house and regret this later on as they have a huge bill as something broke.
It is also possible that a company has to come to drain your septic tank. This can indicate that something is wrong if you have to do it too often.
How to find a plumber in your area
If you are looking for a plumber in your area, you can use a number of different tools to find the latest information. Some common methods for finding a plumber include speaking to friends and family members or searching for listings in your local phone book.
The internet is another source of information that you should consider using. Searching online databases like Yelp will help you find potential plumbers near you. You can also search on Google Maps to find nearby plumbers or locate one that is close to where you need them.
Another option for finding a plumber is by checking out an online directory such as the National Plumbing Credentialing Corporation (NPCC) Directory of Certified Master Plumbers or the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).
As outlined before, smaller plumbing companies might be cheaper but they might not have the required expertise. For small and easy jobs (such as replacing a toilet seat) it is often best to work with a local plumber. If there is a bigger issue, you might go for a bigger company that has more expertise.
You can check online reviews and ask for references from the plumber. Plumbers are often very busy so if you are asking too many questions, they might pick another client instead so be aware of this. It is great if you can use the same plumber for several decades as they get to know your system. This can save a lot of time when things go wrong.
Residential versus Industrial (or commercial) plumbing
Industrial plumbing is a broad term that refers to the work involved in installing and maintaining plumbing systems in industrial facilities. The work involves installing, repairing, and maintaining piping systems for a variety of purposes, including operating water pumps and pressure vessels.
It also includes the pumping of fluids from one location to another. Industrial plumbing often requires specialized skillsets and training. The pipes that are being used are often bigger and heavier.
Fixing a leak is one of the most common tasks for a plumber. Water leaks can wreak havoc on your home or business and cause serious damage to your property.
When you have a leak, you need to act quickly because the faster that water comes into contact with your foundation walls, the more likely it will damage them. In industrial environments, it is often necessary to use a construction lift. This requires special training as well as you need to know how to operate this.
The future of plumbing
In the future, there will be an increase in the demand for plumbers. This is because, with more people moving into urban cities, new water and drainage systems are being installed. All of these new pipelines require professional installation and maintenance by a certified plumber. The increased demand will lead to even greater employment opportunities for plumbers in the future.
New innovations are being introduced all the time. People will always need water and a toilet!
To conclude, we can state that plumbing has evolved over the past decades. It is no longer only a dirty, labor-intensive job. Systems have become more complex and you also need insights into how they work if you want to become a plumber. Given all the new technologies, plumbers have started to specialize and focus on one area: installation, maintenance, or repair.
Plumbers often start out as apprentices and learn along the way. There are a lot of things that they have to know and it can take several years to study all of these subjects. Most plumbers still learn something new every week.
If you have a problem in your house, it is important that you find a plumber that is specialized in your problem. Especially if it is an advanced problem, such as a slab leak, it is best to pick someone that has special tools for this.