The plumber: everyone knows what they do. They’re the ones we call when something goes wrong with our toilet. But what do they really do? I wanted to find out more about what goes on when you call your friendly toilet professional.

First, let’s start with the basics. According to the DIY network, to understand what a plumber do, you need an understanding of drains, traps, and vents. If you live in an urban or suburban area, your water probably drains to your municipality’s sewage system. One component of your toilet’s drain is the trap, which literally traps the water inside, allowing the yucky stuff to go to the sewage system, and allowing nothing back into your home, such as sewage gases. The trap is tightly sealed with a ferrule screwed down by a nut. Finally, the vent allows water to pass out of your drain. Your vent must have a pitch to allow gravity to flow the water out of your home, such as through a drainpipe.

Now that we understand these basic concepts of plumbing, we can start to understand what a plumber does. To excel in his job, your plumber must have a complete understanding of the drains, traps, and vents and how to optimize their performance. He has to know how to both install and repair these parts, as well as keep them clean and running well. He also has to study up on health and safety laws, and in most cases, take a licensing exam so you know you’re hiring a trained professional.

According to, a plumber was part of the construction crew putting your home together no matter what type of building it is. A plumber determined the best place to put pipes, and installed them correctly. He also connected these pipes to your sinks, showers, and washing machine. He could have even put in your gas lines or heating and cooling systems, working along with an electrician.

Later down the line from the construction of your house, you know that the plumber is the one to call when your toilet breaks or your pipes are blocked. But did you know that your plumber is also the one to call if your water heater stops working, if you have a gas leak, or if your basement floods? Plumbers are highly skilled and trained in all these areas. Basically, if anything in your home has to do with pipes or water, your plumber is the one to call.

Most of us probably don’t want to think about all the yucky stuff a plumber has to deal with every day. It’s easy to call them when we have a problem and not have to think about it any more. But to be a smarter customer, here’s some things you should be aware of in your home: know where the source of your water supply is and how to shut it off, so that your house doesn’t flood while waiting for the plumber to arrive. Know about your water meter and your water bill so you don’t get overcharged. Know how to shut the water supply off for individual plumbing appliances so you don’t damage them. Most of all, know a little bit about what your plumber does for you so you can appreciate a job well done.


Erik George