Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a plumber? If you have, you’ve probably assumed that it’s all about dirty jobs and hard work. While the plumbing profession does involve a lot of that, it’s also highly rewarding and can ultimately be a lot of fun. In order to give you a better idea about what it is that we do every day, let’s take a look at what it means to be a plumber.
A Day In The Life
Some professions are all about routine: work begins and ends at the same time each day and in between it’s a repetition of the same tasks over and over. Plumbing work, however, isn’t so predictable, and that’s part of what makes it so exciting, despite the not-so-clean aspects. A day’s work can be one single big job or a series of small ones. Emergency calls can come in before or after hours. Due to the nature of the job, plumbers travel all over the city, never knowing where they might end up next.
The standard workweek for plumbers is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in and will vary from one job to the next.
As a Plumber, you may work outdoors and indoors, alone or with a team of other construction professionals. The work can be physically demanding – you may have to stand or crouch for long periods of time, and you may have to lift heavy materials.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Plumbers are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect against injury.
The Unexpected Jobs Plumbers Do
Quickly think of a few plumbing jobs. Chances are that most of the things you came up with involve bathrooms and kitchens—unclogging drains, getting toilets to flush, cleaning out garbage disposals, etc. But believe it or not, we do a lot more than just making sure water and waste goes where it needs to. Plumbers complete many jobs on a regular basis that are more unexpected, such as:
- Medical gas lines: From hospitals to dental offices and veterinary practices, anesthesia is vital to healthcare. In modern facilities the gases used are piped in from a central location to the surgical suite or patient room. Who installs those lines? Plumbers!
- Compressed air: Some lines of work rely heavily on tools powered by compressed air. Mechanics, carpenters, and many factory operations require these tools. For large-scale operations, it’s easiest to have multiple tools connected to a central compressor, requiring the pipes and hoses that plumbers install.
- Natural gas lines: If your home or business is partially powered by natural gas, then you’re using gas lines installed by a plumber. While they don’t involve water or draining waste, they do involve pipes, which makes them part of our job.
Yes, Sometimes It Gets Dirty
The plumbing industry is often fun and rewarding, but as you no doubt have guessed, it also gets dirty. Luckily, the majority of our jobs are relatively clean—most clogs don’t require getting into the “muck.” But there are those jobs, such as snaking sewer lines, repairing broken drain pipes, or working with septic tanks, that means getting up close and personal with, well, poo.
We know what you might be asking yourself: how does a plumber find such work rewarding? We like to think about what plumbing does for society as a whole. It allows us to function better, keeps things cleaner, keeps us healthier, and makes life more pleasant for everyone. There’s a reason that when we talk about advanced ancient societies, one of the things we focus on is historical plumbing systems—they paved the way for a better life. As plumbers, we’re lucky to be a part of that.