What Does a Plumber Actually Do?

Posted on: 29 June 2023

Plumbers do far more than install faucets and unclog drains. A plumber can also install and maintain many types of piping systems in commercial and residential properties, factories, waste disposal plants, water treatment facilities and power plants. Let's delve further into what a plumber actually does and the different specialities in which they work.

The duties of a plumber

A plumber's main responsibility is installing and maintaining different types of fixtures and piping systems. They're required to work with their professional tools, follow blueprints and know which types of materials are needed for each job. A plumber may also design piping systems for construction projects.

A plumber may also be required to perform basic carpentry duties, such as bracing pipes to hold them in place. And when necessary, they'll also attach, solder and weld fittings together. Once they've installed a piping system, they'll install such fixtures as water heaters, dishwashers, showers, bathtubs and toilets. 

A few facts

A plumber's working environment is typically a home, business or factory. The key skills required in plumbing are physical conditioning, mechanical knowledge, business sense and customer service. Similar occupations an aspiring plumber may wish to consider include an electrician, a boilermaker and a construction manager.


Steamfitters, pipefitters and pipelayers are all specialities of plumbing. A plumber can specialise in one or provide services in two or more of these areas if they wish to broaden their horizons.


A pipelayer sets and installs the piping required for the job at hand, such as water mains and storm drains. A pipelayer can expect to grade and dig the trenches, where they'll need to lay the pipes, set them and secure them together through gluing, cementing or welding.

Pipefitters and steamfitters

A pipefitter is primarily involved in larger industrial projects. They install and maintain cooling and heating piping systems in addition to systems that generate electricity. A steamfitter specialises in high-pressure systems that move liquids or gases, like compressed air, steam or water.

Training requirements

An aspiring plumber can be trained through a plumbing apprenticeship taken at a community college or trade school. Anyone considering this route can expect a training programme to take a while to complete, and they'll usually need to have a high school diploma in order to enrol. An apprenticeship provides not only on-the-job training but also knowledge of water distribution, plumbing codes, blueprint reading, mathematics, tool usage, systems and types of piping.

Contact a local plumber to learn more.