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Types of Plumbers: 6 Different Plumbers, Services, and Salaries

May 3, 2022 7 min. read
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Knowing the different types of plumbers and the plumbing services they offer can give you the direction you need to gain on-the-job experience and build a successful career.

Different types of plumbers specialize in different areas. The fundamentals are the same, but how you apply your plumbing skills will differ depending on the type of plumbing service you perform.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the 6 common types of plumbers and the services they offer their clients.

1. Residential plumber

A residential plumber specializes in residential plumbing systems. Residential plumbing helps to ensure clients’ homes have running water and working toilets.

Residential plumbers are also heavily relied on during kitchen or bathroom remodeling, and they provide repairs or maintenance as needed.

The types of plumbing services a residential plumber would offer include:

  • Installing plumbing systems and different piping (like a PVC pipe, copper pipe, iron pipe, or PEX pipe) in home additions or renovations
  • Installing, repairing, and servicing a plumbing system or plumbing fixture in a single- or multi-family home
  • Installing water and gas pipes
  • Diagnosing and fixing a plumbing problem (like a burst water pipe, clogged drain, or low water pressure) in a residential setting

If you’re interested in becoming a residential plumber, consider finding an apprenticeship with a residential plumbing company.

READ MORE: How to price a plumbing job: a simple formula for quoting

2. Commercial plumber

A commercial plumber works in large commercial settings like office buildings, schools or colleges, and hospitals. 

They have experience working with a large number of pipes and outlets and understand the complexities involved in larger plumbing systems. 

A commercial plumber’s list of plumbing services would include:

  • Install pipes and water tanks in large commercial settings
  • Install waste removal and water systems by digging trenches and putting in piping to connect the building to a local sewage system and water reserve
  • Provide regular maintenance, troubleshooting, and repairs to plumbing systems

If you’re interested in becoming a commercial plumber, find an apprenticeship with a company that offers commercial plumbing services to grow your knowledge and gain experience.

READ MORE: The best plumbing tools for professional plumbers

3. Service and repair plumber

Service and repair plumbers are called specifically to troubleshoot and repair plumbing systems in both residential and commercial settings. They have strong problem-solving skills and the know-how to fix a variety of plumbing issues.

Service and repair plumbers perform professional plumbing services like:

  • Fixing issues with water pressure
  • Cleaning and servicing plumbing systems
  • Repairing leaks and unclogging drains
  • Responding to plumbing emergencies

Service and repair plumbers often work on-call shifts and respond to plumbing emergencies beyond the standard nine-to-five. They work with the (often stressed) home or business owner to quickly investigate the issue and make the repair.

READ MORE: The 10 best plumbing blogs and resources

4. Water supply plumber

Water supply plumbers are responsible for the flow of water into a home, business, school, hospital, or other building. 

They install and repair various water tanks and supply lines, like kitchen sinks, overhead storage tanks, bathroom tanks, and pipes.

The types of plumbing services a  water supply plumber offers include:

  • Installing water supply lines and sanitation systems in kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms
  • Performing water supply services like unclogging drains and toilet repairs

Water supply plumbers are often residential or commercial plumbers who specialize in various water supply systems.

READ MORE: How to bid plumbing jobs and win more work

5. Sanitary plumber

Sanitary plumbers troubleshoot and repair any issues related to sanitary pipes, tanks, and plumbing systems in residential or commercial bathrooms.

This type of plumber will not install appliances like washing machines, or replace or repair taps, ball valves, or plugs.

Some sanitary plumbing services include:

  • Installing, unclogging, and cleaning bathroom and toilet pipes
  • Fitting new water heater systems and boilers in showers and toilets
  • Installing, maintaining, or removing bathtubs

READ MORE: 57 plumbing interview questions to find top plumbers

6. Construction plumbers

Construction plumbers help plan and install plumbing systems for new residential or commercial buildings or remodels. 

They’re essential contractors to make sure a home or commercial building has running water.

A construction plumber’s list of plumbing services would include

  • Fitting, laying, and installing new pipe systems and drainage pipes, and connecting them to local water reserves
  • Connecting and testing shut-off valves and new water heaters
  • Installing all plumbing fixtures such as sinks, faucets, shower heads, washing machines, dishwashers, and toilets

READ MORE: 18 of the best plumber apps to make your life easier

How to make more money as a plumber

plumber’s salary will depend on three main factors—experience, work location, and plumbing certification.

  • Get more experience

The amount of plumbing experience you have will influence how much you are paid as a plumber.

Plumbers with less than three years of experience will earn on average $40,023. Plumbers with three to six years of experience will earn on average $49,784. While plumbers with seven to ten years of experience will earn $55,733 on average.

  • Choose a different work location

Where you work will also play a role in how much you make as a plumber.

For example, plumbers working in California earn $62,681 on average, whereas plumbers earn $51,523 in Pennsylvania and $47,294 in Florida.

  • Work towards your master plumber’s license

The plumbing license you hold will also have a direct impact on how much you earn.

For example, a plumber apprentice earns on average USD $36,526 annually, while a  journeyman plumber will make, on average, USD $56,054 annually.

master plumber is a fully licensed plumber, and the highest certification you can earn. Plumbers with this title earn USD $66,479 a year on average.

Once you’ve achieved your master plumber certification, you’re considered an expert in the trade and ready to start your own plumbing business.

Whether you’re just starting out, or making the switch from one specialty to another, learning about the different types of plumbers is an important part of your plumbing journey. 

It can help you decide what you’d like your plumbing career to look like, and what skills and experience you need to achieve your goals.

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