Plumbing is any machine or system that carries liquids for various uses to the outside of a structure. Plumbing systems use large tanks, pipes, valves, plumbing fittings, and other such apparatuses to transport liquids. For example, a person walks into a bank and before being able to withdraw cash from a card-reading machine, a representative asks for permission by pushing a button on the machine. If the person does not allow access to the money, the representative opens the door for the customer and transports the cash. The same process occurs when pipes are overloaded, clogged with debris, or used incorrectly.
A plumber is a professional who designs, builds, repairs, and maintains plumbing systems. Plumbers install pipes and fixtures in residences, commercial buildings, and offices. These plumbers also service sewer lines, water heaters, and irrigation systems. Some of the most common fixtures in a home include toilet fixtures such as sinks, showers, toilets, tubs, and water heaters. Plumbing also includes fixtures that distribute water from one part of a house to another, such as water fixtures in outdoor pools, garbage disposal units, faucets for kitchen and bathroom sinks, and toilets in shower stalls. Plumbing prevents flooding of houses and premises, maintains water pressure, and deals with leaks, pipe bursts, and similar problems.
In addition to fixing faucets, fixtures, and pipes, plumbers install drain cleaning equipment and repair blocked drains. They also maintain drainage systems and fix drainage problems such as tree root intrusion, tree roots, backed up sewer lines, and plugged sewer lines. Plumbing is also responsible for preparing pipelines for installation of gas or electric lines, installing and repairing ventilating appliances, repairing gas and heating lines, installing and repairing copper piping, installing insulation under the floorboards, and testing heating and cooling systems.
Plumbing, like any other profession, requires specific skills and knowledge that must be acquired through training and practice. Plumbing colleges provide students the necessary knowledge of plumbing and its applications. Plumbing training usually takes up to two years of classroom instruction and consists of learning about the fundamentals of plumbing such as pipe fitting, pipe installation, pressure, flow, and temperature. Plumbing courses usually do not offer students the option of hands-on experience but do allow students to develop a comprehensive understanding of plumbing materials and processes.
To become a licensed plumber in the United States, you must first acquire a certificate from the Plumbing Contractor Registry (PCR). The first two years of a plumber’s career are considered Plumbing Contractor Academy Years (PY) and Professional Plumber Year (PYYW). In the PYW, students learn about basic plumbing practices, installation procedures, and maintenance. In the PY, a student can expect to learn about the various types of pipes including copper, plastic, man-made fiberglass, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), natural rubber, copper tubing, ceramic tile, and stainless steel pipe.
After finishing a Plumbing course, students will receive an exam called the Plumbing Examinations or the AP Exam. This exam measures the intellectual capability and technical competence in connection with the knowledge of fixtures, water systems, appliances, ventilating and air conditioning systems, household plumbing systems, water supply and distribution, electrical, and mechanical components. After passing the Plumbing examination, one is qualified for licenses that come with different registration numbers. One of these includes a New York State plumber license, a California plumber license, or a Florida plumber license. Each license has a different responsibility, which includes installation, repair and maintenance of water-related facilities and fixtures.