Plumbers play an important part in the infrastructure of our society. Businesses and homeowners alike need quick access to certified plumbers to prevent damage from water leakage. Having a plumber who is fast, reliable and efficient can prevent catastrophic repair bills.
There are many good opportunities in the plumbing industry, and many people can get a plumbing job right away. While it’s impossible to list everything you may encounter as a plumber, knowing something about the challenges and training required will help you determine whether this job is for you.
Plumber Job Description
Plumbers do much more than unclog drains and install new faucets. Plumbers install and maintain numerous types of piping systems found in residential and commercial properties, power plants, water treatment facilities, waste disposal plants, and factories. Plumbers are primarily responsible for installing and maintaining various types of piping systems and fixtures. The responsibilities of a plumber depend on the particular project type.
All plumbers must be able to follow blueprints, work with plumbing tools, and know what types of materials are required for each job. Plumbers may also design piping systems for new construction projects.
Plumbers typically do the following:
- Work in high places and enclosed spaces where the job requires, climbing, bending, stooping, crawling, kneeling, lifting, and working in extreme temperature ranges.
- Assemble, install, and repair pipes, fittings, fixtures, and systems of heating, water, drainage, Natural gas, and Medical gas according to specifications and plumbing codes.
- Study building plans and working drawings to determine work aids required and sequence of installations.
- Inspect structure to ascertain obstructions to be avoided to prevent weakening of structure resulting from installation of pipe.
- Locate and mark positions of pipe and pipe connections and passage holes for pipes in walls and floors.
- Cut openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings, using hand and power tools.
- Cut and thread pipe using, pipe cutters, cutting torch, and pipe threading machine.
- Bend pipe to required angle by use of pipe bending machine or by placing pipe over block and bending it by hand.
- Assemble and install valves, pipe fittings, and pipes composed of metals such as, iron, steel, brass, and lead, and nonmetals such as, glass, vitrified clay, and plastic, using hand and power tools.
- Join pipes by use of screws, bolts, fittings, solder, plastic solvent, brazing, welding, and caulked joints.
- Fill pipe systems with water, air or gas, and reads pressure gauges to determine whether system is leaking.
- Install and repair plumbing fixtures such as, sinks, commodes, bathtubs, water heaters, hot water tanks, garbage disposal units, dishwashers, and water softeners.
- Repair and maintain plumbing by replacing washers in leaking faucets, repairing broken pipes, and opening clogged drains.
- Must have working knowledge of building and mechanical codes.
- May weld supports to steel structural members.
- Will be randomly exposed to glues, solvents, dust, gases, and wastes that may be considered hazardous or infectious.
Plumber Apprenticeship Program
Apprentices receiving no credit for job-related experience or schooling shall serve Nine thousand (9,000) hours of work experience or five (5) years of reasonably continuous work experience. During each year of apprenticeship, each Apprentice shall complete no less than 144 hours of related technical instruction. The first two years of Apprenticeship Training will be day school consisting of 8 hour days for 5 weeks throughout the year. The remainder of the training will be evening classes.
It is understood that time served in probationary status is included within the 9,000-hour program requirement. In no case shall be less than 2,000 hours, or more than 9,000 hours. In no case shall an Apprentice be allowed to change place of employment without the approval of the Committee. Upon completion of the required training hours and class hours the Apprentice must also pass two of the following: Minnesota Plumbing Exam, Wisconsin Plumbing Exam, Minnesota High Pressure Piping Exam, Backflow Tester and Rebuilder, and Medical Gas Certifications.
An Apprentice being advanced to Journeyman ahead of this training schedule must have the approval of the Committee.