Plumbers perform diagnostic, installation, and repair of plumbing systems used for gas, air, and water distribution and disposal, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
Plumbers can either work for a company or a contractor, both experts in the construction or plumbing areas, or in any other related field (e.g. engineering, production, or services). They can also work on their own, in which case, it is necessary to build a reputation in order to get more clients.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Plumbers are required to complete.
- Analyzing water distribution systems schematics in order to place pipes according to design, readjusting details wherever necessary:
- Placing pipe connections, draining systems, and other plumbing materials according to plan.
- Installing plumbing systems and accessories, or any other equipment used to distribute, supply, or dispose of water or wastewater:
- Preparing, measuring, and adjusting the necessary pipes before placing them, using specialized power tools as necessary;
- placing pipes inside walls and under floors, creating openings where necessary;
- ensuring that there are no leaks and that all pipes are properly sealed and connected;
- installing, repairing, and troubleshooting air conditioning equipment, steam and hot water heating systems, and other residential/industrial appliances; and
- installing and repairing gas, air, water, fire protection, and waste disposal systems.
- Providing on-site problem diagnosis and maintenance, accurately estimating repair costs:
- Inspecting and testing pipes for possible leaks and malfunctioning parts;
- instructing customers on proper care and maintenance; and
- analyzing, collecting, calculating, and comparing data prior to preparing estimates.
- Installing plumbing systems and accessories, including residential appliances, as well as HVAC systems.
- Inspecting, testing, and repairing pipes and plumbing systems.
- Cleaning out drains and obstructions in waste and sewage pipes.
The average Plumber salary is $55,502 per year or $28 per hour. This is around 1.7 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $39,000 while most experienced workers make up to $78,000. These results are based on 581 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal, communication, and customer service skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients and colleagues, using a non-technical language as required.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while managing a high volume of work;
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment; and
- being able to work well under pressure, individually or as part of a team.
- Analytical skills and problem-solving skills:
- Approaching tasks in a reliable and resourceful manner; and
- providing an alternative solution when encountering malfunctions in plumbing systems and equipment.
- High degree of initiative and self-supervision:
- Displaying willingness to learn new skills;
- making sure that all operations comply with safety requirements;
- gathering information from pre-maintenance work orders to determine the location and the kind of work to be done; and
- using creativity and imagination to develop new insights and to apply new solutions to problems.
- Continual focus on safety, cost control, and client satisfaction:
- Wearing hearing protection to protect workers from excessive noise, especially when working in factories around noisy machinery; and
- wearing anti-dust respirator masks, steel-toed work boots, helmets, glasses, as well as any other safety equipment.
- Manual dexterity, motor coordination, and physical strength:
- Displaying good hand skills with a high regard for neat workmanship.
All Plumbers start off as Apprentice Plumbers, working 1 to 4 years in an industrial or commercial setting. Prior to being hired, Apprentice Plumbers must have completed a pre-apprenticeship training program at an accredited trade school. Experience in refrigeration, HVAC, electricity, and mechanics are definite assets. On-the-job training and specialty training courses are usually preferred.
Aside from having completed their apprenticeship training, Plumbers are also required to have a minimum of 2 to 5 years of experience within a related industry. Aspiring Plumbers are always expected to be proficient in the use of power tools and other instruments relevant to their profession.
In Canada, Plumbers must have completed a Plumber Certification (306A). A Journeyman Certificate and/or a Plumber Red Seal Certification is usually preferred. Plumbers also need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the most current plumbing codes and of the health and safety standards.
Additional certifications are usually preferred, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Cross Connection Control;
- Backflow Prevention Tester Certification;
- Low Voltage Licence, or equivalent electrical endorsement for low voltage;
- Gas Technician 2 Certificate, including Gasfitter Certificate; and
- Industrial Mechanic Licence.
Finally, Plumbers must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends. They also need a valid driver’s licence and a good driving record, as well as a reliable mean of transportation, in order to get themselves and their tools to job sites within their designated area.