Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a plumber? If you have, you’ve probably assumed that it’s all about dirty jobs and hard work. While the plumbing profession does involve a lot of that, it’s also highly rewarding and can ultimately be a lot of fun. In order to give you a better idea about what it is that we do every day, let’s take a look at what it means to be a plumber.
A Day in the Life
Some professions are all about routine: work begins and ends at the same time each day and in between it’s a repetition of the same tasks over and over. Plumbing work, however, isn’t so predictable, and that’s part of what makes it so exciting, despite the not-so-clean aspects. A day’s work can be one single big job or a series of small ones. Emergency calls can come in before or after hours. Due to the nature of the job, plumbers travel all over the city, never knowing where they might end up next.
Just because there isn’t a set routine doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as an average day for a plumber. Here’s what a typical day in the life of a plumber might look like:
- 6:30 AM: A call comes in from our Tucson plumbing office with the details of the first assignment of the day, scheduled to be completed at 7:00 am.
- 7:00 AM: We arrive at the home.The issue? While mom and dad were getting dressed, their curious child decided some toys should go deep-sea diving—in the toilet.We unclog the toilet, remind the little one that toys don’t go in the potty, then head off, letting mom and dad get their day back on track.
- 8:00 AM: We arrive at a home that scheduled with us a few days ago. The homeowner is looking to get a quote for re-piping their house—one built many years ago that uses some outdated and “unsafe” materials. We inspect the layout of the home, check to see how easy it is to access all of the pipes, estimate how much piping would be needed, then draw up the quote. The homeowner, happy with the quote, contacts the main office to schedule the service.
- 9:00 AM: We get another emergency call, this time from a local restaurant. Their water heater isn’t functioning properly, which means they won’t be allowed to operate until it’s fixed. We head over and discover that the problem is a busted thermostat. Because the water heater is a special industrial model and we don’t have the part in the truck, we contact the office, where they luckily have the needed part on hand. We head to the office, grab what we need, then go back to the restaurant and get the water heater running, allowing the business to open as scheduled.
- 11:00 AM: Having a break in the schedule, we decide to grab an early lunch, allowing us to work the rest of the day through.
- 12:00 PM: We head to a local dental office that’s currently under construction. The doctor is opening her own practice after having been a partner for many years. Our job is to get all the plumbing placed so the construction crew can finish their work. This is pretty complicated, as it involves water, oxygen, and medical gas lines to all of the patient rooms. Ultimately, this will be a multi-day project and takes up the rest of the workday.
- 5:00 PM: With a good chunk of the project completed, we pack up and head home for the day.
The Unexpected Jobs Plumbers Do
Quickly think of a few plumbing jobs. Chances are that most of the things you came up with involve bathrooms and kitchens—unclogging drains, getting toilets to flush, cleaning out garbage disposals, etc. But believe it or not, we do a lot more than just making sure water and waste goes where it needs to. Plumbers complete many jobs on a regular basis that are more unexpected, such as:
- Medical gas lines: From hospitals to dental offices and veterinary practices, anesthesia is vital to healthcare. In modern facilities the gases used are piped in from a central location to the surgical suite or patient room. Who installs those lines? Plumbers!
- Compressed air: Some lines of work rely heavily on tools powered by compressed air. Mechanics, carpenters, and many factory operations require these tools. For large-scale operations, it’s easiest to have multiple tools connected to a central compressor, requiring the pipes and hoses that plumbers install.
- Natural gas lines: If your home or business is partially powered by natural gas, then you’re using gas lines installed by a plumber. While they don’t involve water or draining waste, they do involve pipes, which makes them part of our job.
Yes, Sometimes It Gets Dirty
The plumbing industry is often fun and rewarding, but as you no doubt have guessed, it also gets dirty. Luckily, the majority of our jobs are relatively clean—most clogs don’t require getting into the “muck.” But there are those jobs, such as snaking sewer lines, repairing broken drain pipes, or working with septic tanks, that mean getting up close and personal with, well, poo.
We know what you might be asking yourself: how does a plumber find such work rewarding? We like to think about what plumbing does for society as a whole. It allows us to function better, keeps things cleaner, keeps us healthier, and makes life more pleasant for everyone. There’s a reason that when we talk about advanced ancient societies, one of the things we focus on is historical plumbing systems—they paved the way to a better life. As plumbers, we’re lucky to be a part of that.
If you’re in the Tucson area and need the help of expert plumbers who love what they do, be sure to contact our crew at Ram Plumbing. We’re available around the clock to assist you—24/7, rain or shine.