What Does a Plumber Do?

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes and fixtures used for water supply, waste disposal, and heating in homes and businesses. They must be able to read and interpret blueprints and specifications and know building codes.

Cleveland Ohio Plumbers is a physically demanding career that requires stamina and the ability to perform difficult tasks. It also demands excellent problem-solving skills.

The water supply system is the network of pipes that delivers fresh, clean drinking water to buildings and appliances. A plumber’s job is to ensure these lines are connected to the public water line and free from contaminants or blockages. Depending on the geographic location of the building, the plumbing pipes may be made from various materials, including copper, steel, cast iron, and plastics.

The main water line enters the house through a water meter and then branches out to hot and cold water supply lines for toilets, showers, and kitchen and laundry equipment. Each branch is then connected to the individual faucets in the home. The water line from the main line to the house is often made of galvanized steel or copper. These are more durable and long-lasting but may still be susceptible to damage from tree roots or other obstructions. Other water pipe types are PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) or ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).

All plumbing work must adhere to the relevant building codes specified by the local government authorities. These laws ensure that plumbing systems deliver safe and potable water and drain wastewater and rainwater. Generally, plumbers follow the National Construction Code (NCC), but some jurisdictions require adherence to their specific building codes.

While many plumbing tasks can be completed with common hand tools, plumbers often have specialized equipment that helps them locate hidden problems or perform difficult repairs. These tools include video cameras for inspections, hydro jets and high-pressure hydraulic pumps connected to steel cables for trenchless sewer line replacement, and pipe cutting and bending machines.

During the planning stage of any new building, plumbers are responsible for installing all necessary water pipes and fixtures. They work closely with architects and engineers to ensure the water system suits the structure. They also review blueprints to identify any potential issues before they occur. This ensures the final building is safe and energy efficient, with minimal environmental impact. Plumbers can also help select pipes and fittings, as they know what works best for each situation.

A garbage disposal is a kitchen sink fixture that grinds food waste to help it pass through the plumbing and into the sewer system or septic tank. A plumber can install a new disposal or repair an existing one. In addition, a plumber can inspect the piping that leads from the sink to the sewer main and determine whether it’s wide enough and healthy enough to handle additional waste. This is especially important if you have an older home.

A plumber can also advise you on properly using a garbage disposal, such as only putting food into it that can easily be broken down by its internal blades. Some foods are not good for disposal, including stringy items like celery (which can clog the plumbing), potato peels, eggshells, and meat bones. Plumbers recommend rinsing out the unit after each use to prevent odors and reduce the risk of water leaks from the appliance.

A plumber can also help with septic systems, cesspools, and other sewer alternatives for disposing wastewater. In a septic system, wastewater percolates through brick or concrete block walls into a tank where bacteria break down the organic matter. Then, the resulting slurry is pumped into the ground, seeping into the soil. A plumber can check the condition of a septic tank and its drainage pipes and install or repair them as needed. They can also test the septic tank’s air pressure to ensure it has yet to become full of sewage and caused an overflow.

While plumbers are not known for being squeamish, they must leave their squeamishness at the door when they enter sewer pipes and drains. These areas, after all, are where infectious diseases – including the new coronavirus – live and thrive. Murray warns that the public’s heightened awareness of staph infections, global flu pandemics, and bloodborne pathogens like HIV and Hepatitis B (and its nastier cousin, Hepatitis C) has increased the need for plumbers to be fully aware of their potential exposure while working on sanitary plumbing systems.

Innovative plumbing solutions – such as sensor-activated faucets and soap dispensers, waterless urinals, and touchless hand dryers – have elevated hygiene standards in many commercial venues. These advancements contribute to the longevity of a venue’s restroom fixtures, promote better hand-washing practices, and enhance user experiences.

When a facility embraces these innovations, it shows its commitment to keeping visitors and employees safe and healthy. Moreover, these choices can boost a company’s reputation and increase customer retention.

While plumbing manufacturers make toilets, faucets, showerheads, and urinals, they don’t do the installation. That’s a plumber’s job, and IAPMO recently issued valuable advice to those important partners in responsible plumbing. For example, a plumber should only use chemical drain cleaners if they’re certain the drain is completely clogged. These harsh chemicals can eat away at the pipes, creating speed bumps and snaggles that attract more crud, leading to bigger clogs. Instead, a plumber should try using a drain snake or calling in a professional to remove the clog professionally.

While working on plumbing jobs, plumbers are exposed to many hazards. They must work with dangerous tools and materials, such as soldering irons, chemicals, glues, solvents, and asbestos. Working in these environments can lead to minor or major injuries, including burns, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, or even death. In addition, plumbers have to deal with various physical activities that require good strength and stamina. They may need to stand for long periods, climb ladders and scaffolding, and crouch or crawl in small spaces. Moreover, they must work with electricity, other electrical appliances, and wiring that can cause fires if improperly handled. Therefore, they should follow all the safety precautions to avoid any mishaps.

Plumbers must wear appropriate clothing and protective gear to minimize the risks of injuries. This includes gloves, head protection, and safety boots with non-slip rubber soles. They must also use protective eyewear to protect against chemicals and other harmful substances. In addition, they should avoid lengthy exposure to raw sewage and other biohazards. This will help them avoid cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis.

Plumbing workers are also at risk of getting injured due to falling objects or slipping on wet surfaces. Such accidents are one of the leading causes of non-fatal workplace injuries, resulting in days away from work. In addition, plumbers need to be familiar with the chemicals used in their trade, such as the Safety Data Sheets, to understand their properties and health hazards.

Plumbers also risk losing their hearing due to the loud noises their equipment produces. They can protect their ears by wearing earplugs while working. In addition, they should limit their exposure to noisy areas and use a hearing aid when necessary. In addition, they should use a face mask when working with toxic chemicals or in confined spaces. This will prevent inhaling hazardous fumes, such as hydrogen sulfide, a byproduct of sewage decomposition. It can be fatal if inhaled in large quantities.

The next important step in establishing your plumbing business is finding the right equipment for each service you offer. This includes pipe cutters, wrenches, drain snakes, hydro-jetting equipment, and leak detection devices. You will also need a reliable vehicle to transport your team and tools to job sites.

Finally, a quality customer relationship management system is essential for plumbing contractors to grow their business and improve their long-term customer relationships. A top-notch plumbing CRM will seamlessly integrate your entire business’s crucial elements. This will help you manage your sales, marketing, accounting, and customer service processes from one location, saving you time and money. For example, with ServiceTitan, a plumber can book jobs directly from their phone or online inquiry and track the results of marketing campaigns.