What Does a Plumber Do?

Plumbers Lexington KY install and repair pipes that supply water, drain waste, and carry sewage. They work in a variety of settings, including homes, businesses, and factories.


Plumbers often collaborate with other professionals to ensure plumbing systems integrate seamlessly into building projects and meet all necessary regulations and standards. They also use critical thinking and verbal communication skills to solve problems and make repairs.

Plumbing is often seen as a dirty and dangerous job, but it’s important to remember that it is also highly skilled work. Plumbers install, repair, and maintain a wide variety of water, gas, and drainage systems. They work with pipes, tubing, valves, drains, fixtures, and appliances.

Some examples of a plumber’s job duties are interpreting blueprints or building specifications, locating underground piping, cutting, welding, and brazing pipe sections, assemblies, and fittings, installing backflow preventers, testing for leaks and other defects, and maintaining tools and equipment. They may also need to perform some excavation and directional boring.

Plumbers usually receive their training through an apprenticeship, which lasts four to five years and combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training. After completing their apprenticeship, most states require plumbers to obtain a license in order to work independently.

In addition to being responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems, plumbers must also be capable of dealing with unexpected situations like burst pipes. This means that they may need to stay on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to respond to calls from customers.

It is also the responsibility of a plumber to ensure that all work meets local codes and regulations. Plumbers must also keep up-to-date on all new technology and techniques in the plumbing industry.

Another benefit of being a plumber is that it is an excellent career choice for people who enjoy working with their hands and are not easily bored. This is because the work can be very varied and interesting and because plumbers are constantly faced with new challenges. For example, when working on a plumbing project in an older building, they might have to deal with old and obsolete pipes that are not as easy to work with as modern ones. This can lead to some very creative solutions and unusual construction methods. In addition, plumbers frequently have to work in confined spaces such as crawl spaces and under sinks. This can be very uncomfortable and requires specialized equipment. Plumbers must also be prepared to spend a lot of time on their feet and carry heavy loads, so it is important that they are in good physical condition.

Education and training requirements

Many plumbers complete a formal apprenticeship program or on-the-job training. This typically lasts four to five years and includes a combination of classroom learning and practical experience. Apprentices work for experienced plumbing and pipefitting contractors, working on a variety of jobs in different fields until they have the skills and knowledge necessary to move on to more challenging projects. They also take specialized classes, such as blueprint reading and the installation of heating and cooling systems, and attend regular meetings with their mentors.

Some aspiring plumbers enroll in a certificate program at a trade school or community college before beginning their apprenticeship. These programs usually take a few months to a year to complete, and they include basic plumbing courses as well as mathematics and other relevant subjects. Those who choose to attend a certificate program before beginning an apprenticeship may find that it helps them progress faster through their apprenticeship.

High school students interested in becoming plumbers should spend their time taking a variety of courses that will give them the best chance at success in the field, including science, math, and computer technology. They should also focus on developing strong reading and writing skills as well as a good foundation in physics and chemistry.

After completing an apprenticeship, a plumber must take and pass the state plumbing examination. In addition, most states require plumbers to be licensed. This process varies by state, but it generally involves a background check, a criminal record check, and an interview with the licensing board.

Plumbers must be comfortable dealing with a wide range of situations, from troubleshooting problems to meeting with customers to negotiating rates. They need to have excellent customer service skills, be able to read and follow complex blueprints, and be physically fit because they often work in tight spaces. They must also be familiar with all building codes and safety regulations. It is important for plumbers to have a collection of high-quality, reliable tools that they can use on the job. The tools they need may be provided to them as part of their apprenticeship, but they should also continue adding to their collection throughout their career.

Work Environment

Plumbers must be comfortable with physical labor, including working in tight spaces and on pipes for extended periods of time. They must also be able to follow detailed written and verbal instructions. Good communication skills are important for this career because plumbers often work in teams with other tradespeople on larger projects. They may also need to communicate with customers to understand what needs to be done and answer questions.

Plumbers are typically employed by plumbing companies, although some are self-employed. They may work on a variety of jobs, including installing, maintaining, and repairing plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings. They may also work on gas or water lines in industrial settings.

Plumbing is considered a skilled trade, and many experienced plumbers choose to become union members. These individuals get access to a range of benefits, including advanced training and leadership opportunities. They may also be able to negotiate higher pay rates.

The average salary for a plumber is about $41,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plumbers with experience and additional qualifications can earn more, and those who own their own businesses can make even more. The job outlook for plumbers is strong, with demand expected to continue rising as population and building construction increase. 

Job Outlook

As one of the most recession-proof trades, plumbers are in high demand and can earn a decent salary. In fact, they are often in even higher demand than electricians, as they are responsible for more of the electrical systems in homes and buildings.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment for plumbers is expected to grow faster than the average occupation in the next 10 years. Most of this growth will stem from new construction and the need to maintain existing plumbing systems in residential and commercial structures. The demand for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is also expected to increase as states continue to adopt changes to building codes that require the use of fire suppression systems.

The salaries for plumbers can vary by state, with some offering higher wages than others. However, the average plumber’s salary is more than $50,000 per year, making it an attractive option for those looking for a career that can provide a good income and job security.

In addition to the base pay, many plumbers can earn additional income by earning certifications. These certifications can help set them apart from other workers in the industry and may lead to increased opportunities for work. Additionally, by staying current with new tools and techniques, plumbers can make themselves more valuable to their employers and increase their own salaries.

Depending on where they are located, plumbers’ income can be affected by fluctuations in the economy. The demand for plumbing services decreases during times of economic depression, but as the economy recovers, so does the need for plumbing professionals. Plumbers who are employed by contractors can expect to see steady work, but those who are self-employed are more likely to experience a fluctuating income.

If you are thinking of becoming a plumber, it’s important to do your research and learn more about the industry and professional plumber wages. By taking the time to make an informed decision, you can ensure that this is a career that will be rewarding in both financial and personal ways. You can also find out more about apprenticeship programs, which allow you to gain the skills and experience needed to become a licensed plumber without incurring significant student debt.