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Jean Collins
Jean Collins


The origin of the word "plumber" dates from the Roman Empire.[3] [4] Roman roofs used lead in conduits and drain pipes[5] and some were also covered with lead; lead was also used for piping and for making baths.[6] The Latin for lead is plumbum. In medieval times, anyone who worked with lead was referred to as a plumber; this can be seen from an extract about workmen fixing a roof in Westminster Palace; they were referred to as plumbers: "To Gilbert de Westminster, plumber, working about the roof of the pantry of the little hall, covering it with lead, and about various defects in the roof of the little hall".[7] Thus a person with expertise in working with lead was first known as a Plumbarius which was later shortened to plumber.


Each state and locality may have its own licensing and taxing schemes for plumbers. Some states license journeymen and master plumbers separately, while others license only master plumbers. To become licensed, plumbers must meet standards for training and experience, and in most cases, pass a certification exam.[8] There is no federal law establishing licenses for plumbers.[9]

To become a licensed plumber a four year apprenticeship and a Certificate III in Plumbing is required. As part of this course, instruction in the basics of gas fitting will be undertaken. Upon completion, these basics in gas fitting will allow the plumber to not only apply for their plumbing license but also an interim gas license, and carry out gas work under the supervision of a fully qualified gas fitter.

To obtain a full gas license from the Department of Mines and Energy, the plumber will need to have worked on an interim gas license for a minimum period of twelve months and successfully completed a Certificate IV in Plumbing.

There are many types of dangers to a plumber. These include electric shock, strains and sprains, cuts and lacerations, bruises and contusions, fractures, burns and scalds, foreign bodies in the eye, and hernias.[14] Working at height or in confined spaces, or working with lead and asbestos are all on-site dangers that plumbers can face.[15]

The term "White House Plumbers" was a popular name given to the covert White House Special Investigations Unit established on July 24, 1971, during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Their job was to plug intelligence "leaks" in the U.S. Government relating to the Vietnam War (i.e. the Pentagon Papers); hence the term "plumbers".[17]

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn on the job through an apprenticeship. Some attend a vocational-technical school before receiving on-the-job training. Most states require plumbers to be licensed.

Despite limited employment growth, about 48,600 openings for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Although plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters have distinct responsibilities, they often have similar duties. For example, they all install pipes and fittings that carry water, gas, and other fluids and substances. They determine the necessary materials for a job, connect pipes, and test pressure to ensure that a pipe system is airtight and watertight. Their tools include drills, saws, welding torches, press fitting tools, and drain cleaning tools.

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters may use different materials and construction techniques, depending on the project. For example, residential water systems use copper, steel, and plastic pipe that one or two plumbers install. Industrial plant water systems, in contrast, are made of large steel pipes that usually take a crew of pipefitters to install.

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work in factories, homes, businesses, and other places where there are pipes and related systems. Plumbers and fitters lift heavy materials, climb ladders, and work in tight spaces. Some plumbers travel to worksites every day. Outdoor work, in all types of weather, may be required.

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work full time, including nights and weekends. They are often on call to handle emergencies. Self-employed plumbers may be able to set their own schedules.

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to become a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter. Vocational-technical schools offer courses in pipe system design, safety, and tool use. They also offer welding courses that are required by some pipefitter and steamfitter apprenticeship training programs.

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their trade through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship. Apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training, as well as some technical instruction, each year. Technical instruction includes safety, local plumbing codes and regulations, and blueprint reading. Apprentices also study mathematics, applied physics, and chemistry. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by unions, trade associations, and businesses. Most apprentices enter a program directly, but some start out as helpers or complete a pre-apprenticeship training programs in plumbing and other trades.

Most states and some localities require plumbers to be licensed. Although licensing requirements vary, states and localities often require workers to have 2 to 5 years of experience and to pass an exam that shows their knowledge of the trade before allowing plumbers to work independently.

After completing an apprenticeship and becoming licensed at the journey level, plumbers may advance to become a master plumber, supervisor, or project manager. Some plumbers choose to start their own business as an independent contractor, which may require additional licensing.

The median annual wage for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was $59,880 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $99,920.

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work full time, including nights and weekends. Plumbers are often on call to handle emergencies. Self-employed plumbers may be able to set their own schedules.

Demand for plumbers will stem from new construction and from the need to maintain and repair plumbing systems in existing residences and other buildings. Employment of sprinklerfitters is expected to increase as states continue to adopt changes to building codes that require the use of fire suppression systems.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, at -and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm (visited March 16, 2023).

If you have a major fix to deal with in your home, shop around for a licensed plumber to do the work. Obtaining at least three bids helps you determine the range of the project, so you can weigh the pros and cons of price and the reputation of the plumbers. Get references and check that their licensing is up to date with your local state registrar.

Be suspicious of anything that is substantially lower or double the price of the rest, and watch out for hidden fees, like charges for travel expenses. They could be signs of a home improvement scam. A good plumber will not nickel and dime you, and many will offer free estimates.

Plumbing requires upkeep. Avoid calling a plumber as often by performing some preventative maintenance like consistently checking pipes for leaks, avoid putting the wrong things down the drain, flushing your water heater, and regularly cleaning your showerhead.

Good morning. I'm A Martínez. A plumber crawled under a house in Los Angeles to do a job. Three hours went by without a sound, so the homeowner called for help. Firefighters showed up and started cutting holes in the floor with chainsaws. That's when the plumber turned up. He'd fallen asleep in the crawlspace. He must have been feeling a bit drained. But seriously, why cut holes in the floor with chainsaws instead of crawling in after him? Just saying. It's MORNING EDITION.

The average cost to hire a plumber is between $45 and $150 per hour, while some may be more expensive, there will typically not be any cheaper option that would be qualified and licensed to do the work.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2020, there were 417,440 plumbers employed in America. Their average salary was $29.37 per hour, with an annual wage of $61,100. California has the most plumbers employed (43,540) with Texas (39,810) following just behind. Alaska has the highest average hourly wage at $42.38 per hour.

To become a certified journey level or specialty plumber in Washington, you must typically begin as a plumber trainee. Washington has reciprocal certification with Idaho for journey level plumbers. All other out-of-state plumbers can present a comparable license from another state or show equivalent experience in the U.S. military for consideration.

Medical gas piping installer (MG01) is a journey level plumber who is also qualified to work on medical gas piping systems that deliver oxygen, nitrous oxide, high-pressure nitrogen, medical compressed air, medical vacuum systems, etc.

In any residential structure, a residential service plumber may perform plumbing work as needed to perform drain cleaning and may perform leak repairs on any pipe, fitting, or fixture from the leak to the next serviceable connection.

Washington has reciprocal certification with Idaho for journey level plumbers. All other plumbers working in Washington must pass the Washington state plumber examination to work in the state. To apply, you will need to submit a copy of your government-issued photo ID and your out-of-state license for review by the plumber certification program. U.S. military members can show equivalent experience for consideration. 041b061a72


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