Plumber

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For other uses, see Plumber (disambiguation).
Plumber
Plumber at work.jpg
Residential plumber at work.
Occupation
Occupation type
Vocation
Activity sectors
Construction

A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum".[1][2]

History[edit]

The word "plumber" dates from the Roman Empire.[3] The Latin for lead is plumbum. Roman roofs used lead in conduits and drain pipes[4] and some were also covered with lead, lead was also used for piping and for making baths.[5] In medieval times anyone who worked with lead was referred to as a plumber as can be seen from an extract of workmen fixing a roof in Westminster Palace and 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".[6] Thus a person with expertise in working with lead was first known as a Plumbarius which was later shortened to plumber.

Plumbing activities[edit]

Plumber exiting a sewer via a manhole

Years of training and/or experience are needed to become a skilled plumber; some jurisdictions also require that plumbers be licensed.

Some needed skills, interests, and values

  • Reading drawings, and specifications to determine layout of water supply, waste, and venting systems
  • Detecting faults in plumbing appliances and systems, and correctly diagnosing their causes
  • Installing, repairing and maintaining domestic, commercial, and industrial plumbing fixtures and systems
  • Locating and marking positions for pipe connections, passage holes, and fixtures in walls and floors
  • Measuring, cutting, bending, and threading pipes using hand and power tools or machines
  • Joining pipes and fittings together using soldering techniques, compression fittings, threaded fittings, and push-on fittings.
  • Testing pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
  • Awareness of legal regulations and safety issues
  • Ensuring safety standards and build regulations are met.

United States[edit]

Each state and locality may have its own licensing and taxing schemes for plumbers. There is no federal law establishing licenses for plumbers.[7]

Canada[edit]

In Canada, licensing requirements differ by province, however the provinces have pooled resources to develop an Interprovincial Program Guide that developed and maintains apprenticeship training standards across all provinces. The result is what is known as the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program.[8]

United Kingdom[edit]

Plumbers in the United Kingdom are required to pass Level 2 and Level 3 vocational requirements of the City and Guilds of London Institute.[9]

Australia[edit]

Plumbers in Australia have licensing requirements that differ from state to state but it is generally accepted a 4 year apprenticeship with a further minimum experience of 2 years (6 years total) and a further curricular requirement as a benchmark for licensing. Licensed plumbers are also expected to maintain minimum relevant training requirements to maintain their plumbing licence.

Other uses[edit]

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".[10]

Notable plumbers[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitney, William D., ed.. "Trade." Def, 7. The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language vol. 8. New York. The Century Co. 1895. 6,415. Print.
  2. ^ Employment and Occupations in the Skilled Trades in Michigan, Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (June 2013).
  3. ^ Pulsifer,Notes For a History of Lead, New York University Press, 1888 pp. 132, 158
  4. ^ Middleton, The Remains of Ancient Rome, Vol. 2, A & C Black, 1892
  5. ^ Historical production and uses of lead. ila-lead.org
  6. ^ EW Wedlake; J Britton (1836). "Westminster Palace". The history of the ancient palace and late Houses of Parliament at Westminster. J B Nichols and son. p. 122. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  7. ^ "How to Become a Plumber in the USA". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "How to Become a Plumber in Canada" (PDF). Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Plumbing Regulations in the United Kingdom". Emergency Plumber UK. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "II. The Plumbers". The Atlantic. Retrieved 17 September 2013. n the early evening of June 17, 1971, Henry Kissinger held forth in the Oval Office, telling his President, and John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, all about Daniel Ellsberg. Kissinger's comments were recorded, of course, on the hidden White House taping system, and four years later, a portion of that tape was listened to by the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, which was then investigating the internal White House police unit known as the Plumbers. 
  11. ^ UGC, Chicago Tribune. "13 Plumbing Facts You Probably Didn't Know". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  12. ^ Sagan, Carl (2014-03-14). "Carl Sagan Explains Albert Einstein". New Republic. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  13. ^ "Doubts raised on US 'plumber Joe'". BBC News. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-29. Joe Wurzelbacher, 34, found himself at the center of a media frenzy on Thursday after "Joe the plumber" was mentioned 26 times during the final debate.