Plumbing is one of the most essential trades since it deals with water supply to homes and businesses. The plumbing industry is so important that the government has created nationwide standards for home plumbing installations, repairs, replacements, and maintenance.
A plumber is a tradesperson specializing in installing, repairing, and maintenance water supply systems. Plumbers usually work in conjunction with other tradespeople, such as electricians, gas-fitters, mechanical engineers, etc., to build new plumbing installations or repair an existing system. A plumber must be knowledgeable about the physical sciences, such as chemistry and physics, read a variety of plans, and have a comprehensive knowledge of building materials.
Plumber Duties & Responsibilities
A plumber carries out the following tasks:
- Installing and repairing fixtures, fittings, water supply pipes, drainage systems.
- Installing heating systems such as boilers and central heating systems. These jobs also involve fitting piping for hot water cylinders, solar panels or other heat exchangers depending on the needs of the building.
- Checking the safety of gas appliances and equipment. This will include testing for leaks, damage, and correct functioning of appliance controls. It also includes checking ventilation and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure proper working order.
- Installing and servicing systems that remove foul water from premises, such as rainwater harvesting or septic tanks.
- Washing and flushing out sewerages from homes as well as installing drainage systems for stormwater or surface runoff.
Salaries vary depending on the type of business plumbers are employed by. For example, an experienced plumber may earn more working for a large emergency plumbing company than a small plumbing business. In Canada, the average plumber is $60,000 per year, but starting salaries may be much lower for an unlicensed plumber in Etobicoke, for example.
Education, Training, and Certification
The education required to become a plumber depends on the type of employer. For example, smaller companies that are privately owned or municipal may hire a plumber with a high school diploma or GED. However, a large company that is a contractor for the government may require a college education.
In Canada, most plumbers are not required to have any certification before they start working as plumbers. However, individuals who work on gas lines must be certified by Gas Safe. The Canadian government has also developed standards for plumbing work in Canada so that all plumbers are held to the same standard.
Plumber’s Skills & Competencies
- Physical ability is important as a plumber may have to work in awkward positions and lift heavy objects.
- Good math skills are needed because of the need to understand work orders, blueprints, measuring tools, scales, chemical equations, etc. A plumber must be able to read maps, use compasses, understand graphs, and calculate area or volume.
- Problem-solving skills are important because plumbers may encounter issues that they have never come across before. This requires them to identify the problem and find solutions for it.
- Communication skills are vital since plumbers often work with other people like clients, architects, and manufacturers. They must be able to convey ideas and listen to others clearly.
- Detail-oriented is a helpful skill for plumbers because it enables them to inspect, document, and communicate problems with products or services accurately.
Many organizations offer training courses for people who want to become plumbers. The schools often offer on-the-job training as well as classroom study that prepares students for the workforce.
While some choose to pursue this occupation without education or training, they will not be accredited by professional organizations like the Canadian Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (CAPHC).