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Plumbers Defined

plumber unclogs a sewer drain with his Plumbing Snake

Are Plumbers superheroes? Do we need Plumbers in our Community?


Plumbers are essential to maintain good sanitation and to facilitate the daily lives of our modern cities. Plumbing falls under the skill trade category. A skilled trade is a profession for which you need to complete an apprenticeship program of 4-5 years in an actual plumbing company, in a trade school, or at a university.


Many people do not fully understand what plumbing involves and our society often does not value the plumbing profession as it should. Many people think all skill trades are just physical labor jobs, but that is a big misconception about plumbing. To become a licensed plumber in today’s competitive market you need to have more than work skills. To become an expert plumber you need to have proficiency in mathematics, troubleshooting, people skills, machine usage, and lately plumbing is overlapping with chemistry (see our Pipe rehabilitation page).

  • Math

  • Trouble Shooting

  • People Skills

  • Machine Usage

  • Chemistry


Math: An installation of a sewer line needs to have a quarter-inch slope per foot, in order for gravity to do its job and not have standing water in the sewer line. If the specifications of septic tanks are not known and you need to pump it out, a quick mathematical formula to find the volume of material the septic tank can hold will give you a precise amount of water gallons.


Troubleshooting: There are a lot of things that can go wrong with plumbing systems, everything in a plumbing system is connected somehow to something else, and a plumber has to be able to determine which segment of the system is faulty. There are several flags that will give you clues, so you need to be educated about them and have a good sense of logic to put all of the symptoms together to determine what might be causing the problem.


People Skills: Despite everything you are exposed to at the workplace (sewer water, mud, soil, and rust), a plumber must always have a nice presentation when meeting a customer (first impressions go a long way). This does not mean presenting yourself nicely on the first day only. Make sure to always be presentable and pleasant. When you are suggesting a service to a client, you are to be able to educate the customer about the service you will be performing. You need to know how to deal with people by always being polite, well-spoken, and making sure the customer understands everything that is going on in order for the customer to feel safe having you working on their property.


Machine Usage: Heavy Machinery is becoming essential to provide the best plumbing services in today’s market. Hydro Jets, Jack Hammers, Pipe bursting, and many more. All these machines have safety precautions and need skills to be handled properly. For example, the hydro jet uses 4,000 psi jets of water to blast off roots, debris, or masses blocking your sewer line. A 4,000 psi jet of water can cut you open in no time, so precautions should be taken and specially trained operators are required.


Chemistry: Pipe rehabilitation technology has come a long way, and now one of the most popular trench-less services is “pipelining”. The liner is a sleeve made out of very absorbent materials that go inside the pipe being rehabilitated (a pipe within a pipe). Later you make a resin by mixing two chemicals that with time have a reaction that hardens the sleeve. To be able to perform this service, a formula should be calculated based on footage temperature and the kind of chemicals being mixed. It seems like a lot of work, but many companies will have you focused on one area. You could be in the trench-less crew, the liner crew, hydro jetter crew, or you could be just a regular technician taking service calls for drain cleaning and piping.


Keeping Water Safe

Imagine mixing potable water with sewer, or gas lines with water lines! Or you go turn your faucet on and gas comes out setting your house on fire! This made seem fictional. But in reality it can very easily happen. Plumbers keep drinking water safe for drinking. Not only safe but plumbers make sure the right water pressure and volume come out of your faucet. This is all done by complicated calculations and formulas and of course by not mixing and combining gas lines with water lines. It seems simple but it is not. The right size of the pipe must be calculated based on the demand of a home for water gallons and how many feet of pipe a home will need to meet the demand it requires. If this is not done properly only one faucet will have water!


Sewer Lines

Plumbers have to make sure sewage gets properly disposed of and goes into the right pipe. The saying “Things flow don’t hill” doesn’t always work in plumbing. With changes in elevation, landscaping, and length of travel getting black water to its destination can become a very complicated task. Plumbers must run calculations for slope and also where pumps may need to be installed. Also, potable water and sewer can’t mix. Plumbers must make sure of the proper installation of pipes and where sewer treatment plants need to go! Contaminating local lakes and rivers is a no-no and plumbers must make sure everything works as intended.


Gas Lines

Imagine your water heater blowing up and causing major damage to your property or worse killing someone! Gas lines must be installed by highly trained plumbers. The proper sizing and piping must be used for gas lines. Safety devices must properly be installed. We have seen things blow up and cause emergencies it is very real! Take a look at this video.

clean water
sewer overflow
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