Minifig City


Plumbers install and repair the water, waste disposal, drainage, and gas systems in homes and buildings. They also install plumbing fixtures (bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets) and appliances (dishwashers, waste disposals, water heaters). Plumbers use a variety of tools such as saws, pipe cutters, pipe-bending machines, and soldering irons. They connect the lengths of pipe with fittings, using methods that depend on the type of pipe used. For plastic pipe, plumbers connect the sections and fittings with adhesives. For copper pipe, they slide a fitting over the end of the pipe and solder it in place. After the piping is in place, plumbers install the fixtures and appliances and connect the system to the outside water line and sewer or septic system. Finally, using pressure gauges, they check the system to ensure that the plumbing works properly.

When plumbers working construction install piping in a new house, they work from blueprints or drawings that show the planned location of pipes, plumbing fixtures, and appliances. Recently, plumbers have become more involved in the design process. Their knowledge of codes and the operation of plumbing systems can cut costs. First they lay out the job to fit the piping into the structure of the house with the least waste of material. Then they measure and mark areas in which pipes will be installed and connected. Construction plumbers also check for obstructions such as electrical wiring and, if necessary, plan the pipe installation around the problem.

Because plumbers must frequently lift heavy pipes, stand for long periods, and sometimes work in uncomfortable or cramped positions, they need physical strength and stamina. They may also have to work outdoors in inclement weather. Most plumbers train on the job through jointly administered apprenticeships and in career or technical schools or community colleges. Apprenticeship programs generally provide the most comprehensive training available. With additional training, some plumbers can become supervisors for mechanical and plumbing contractors. Other plumbers go into business for themselves, often starting as a self-employed plumber working from home. Others move into closely related areas such as construction management or building inspection.

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Choking Hazard

Related Occupations:
Building inspector
Construction manager
Heating/air-conditioning/refrigeration technician
Sheet metal worker