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5 Different Types of Plumbers (Plus Tips on Hiring the Right Type)

Plumber in uniform with tools.

A plumber is a person who repairs and installs fittings of water supply, pipes, heating systems, and sanitation. All of us have called a plumber at some point in our lives because anyone can have a clogged drain, broken pipe, plugged toilet, or a leaking sink without prior warning. But would you call the same plumber who has done a plumbing repair of broken pipe to repair your water heater?

A plumber is a general term to define a profession that encompasses many jobs. Each job requires a different skill set and a different level of expertise. A plumber who is an expert at opening drains may not be as good at repairing pipes or working on your heating systems. You may have never thought about it earlier but there are different types of plumbers for different jobs.

Some plumbers may have a specialization in the installation of new pipes in newly constructed houses, while others may be expert in installing new pipes in commercial buildings. Some may be experts in fixing pipes in residential places while some may have expertise in fixing pipes in larger buildings. Some plumbers may be specialized in very particular jobs such as fire suppressing sprinkler systems or installing natural gas lines.

The quality of the plumbing job is extremely important. When the job is done by an expert, you won’t be having complains for a very long time. However, if the person doing the job is not skilled or well-trained, you will face a similar problem again after a few days. Bad plumbing can create a mess that we don’t even want you to think about.

Don’t be surprised! Not many people are aware of the fact that you need a different plumber for every different type of plumbing. But now that you’re aware of this fact, read along to find out everything you need to know about the different types of plumbers.

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Types of Plumbers On The Basis of Job Scale

When we talk about types of plumbers, the scale of the job is extremely important. Based on the scale of the job, plumbers can be put into one of three major categories:

  • Commercial Plumbers
  • Residential Plumbers
  • Service and Repair Plumbers

1. Commercial Plumbers

Plumber working on pipes.

Commercial plumbers are skilled and qualified professionals who primarily work in large commercial settings. Commercial plumbers are skilled to work in large-scale public and industrial settings like in schools, universities, large shopping malls, hospitals, factories, and manufacturing plants or any other environment that has large industrial equipment involved.

Commercial plumbers are responsible for the installation, repair, and maintenance of pipes and tanks in commercial and industrial buildings. Mostly, plumbers who are specialized in one particular job are not able to perform plumbing activities where different skill set and technicalities are involved. For example, if a residential plumber has to do a plumbing job in commercial buildings and factories, he won’t be able to fulfill the job as accurately as it should be done.

This is due to the lack of sufficient exposure, training, and experience. There are significant differences between each plumbing type and hence, the skill required for each type is different too. For instance, the major difference between a commercial plumber and a residential plumber is the number of pipes, tanks, and pipe outlets they encounter and deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Naturally, a commercial plumber deals with way more pipes than a residential one, and these pipes are larger and often more complicated.

For residential plumbers, the number of pipes they have to fix each day is significantly lower than commercial and service plumbers. Moreover, most of the time, residential plumbers deal with pipes fitted between two or three floors at max. However, commercial plumbers juggle between more floors, more sinks and toilets, and more complications in the piping patterns. The increased workload makes the job for commercial plumbers more time consuming and burdensome than casual residential plumbing.

Other profession-based differences include the magnitude of problems faced by a commercial plumber on a daily basis. Commercial plumbing is beyond just fixing and installing faucets and pipes; it also includes frequent extensive and large scaled waste removal procedures and water system installations for large businesses. This generally involves excavating trenches and drains and putting in pipelines, which are then linked to the main buildings and the local water reserves as well as the sewage systems. Commercial plumbing is more challenging and holds a lot more risk than residential plumbing.

Commercial plumbers are also actively involved in the regular repair and maintenance of systems that they have installed. These servicing rounds are crucial because the systems installed are expensive and require constant care and services.

2. Residential Plumbers

Plumber working on the pipe under the kitchen sink.

Residential plumbers are the plumbing professionals who you call whenever you face a plumbing problem in your home. These plumbers gain experience and training by working on apprenticeships and residential jobs like on new construction sites, housing schemes, and home renovations. They mostly acquire their skill set by working under the umbrella of plumbers that are more experienced and getting hands-on experience.

Residential plumbers mostly carry out and primary the procedures of pipe system installations in residential homes and housing blocks. They are strictly involved in small scale residential plumbing jobs and do not often venture into commercial plumbing due to their lack of experience and qualification.

These residential plumbing experts are primarily involved in and responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of the water systems, pipes, and toilets in homes. They repair and service plumbing systems, houses, and residential flats to keep them running smoothly.

3. Service and Repair Plumbers

Plumber fixing a leaking pipe.

A service and repair plumber is an expert who is mostly hired for repairs and maintenance of plumbing systems at homes or commercial business. The service and repair plumbers receive technical training and are experienced in problem-solving and fixing plumbing issues. They are experts in jobs like fixing reduced pressure, leakages, cleaning, and servicing. Service and repair plumbers specialize in regular leakages and clogging issues.

Types of Plumbers On The Basis Of Job Type

Plumbers can also be classified on the basis of the types of plumbing they are involved in. It depends on the type of water tanks they install, repair, and maintain. Types of plumbers on the basis of job type are:

  • Water Supply Plumbers
  • Sanitary Plumbers

1. Water Supply Plumbers

Turning on or off a water supply in a boiler room.

This category of plumbers is referred to as water supply plumbers because of the nature of their job. They primarily install and repair water tanks like kitchen sinks, kitchen tanks, overhead storage tanks, bathroom tanks, and pipes. On a regular day, a water supply plumber will install the water supply to kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms, and will also take part in fitting deferred sanitation systems and excess pipes as well as connecting these pipes to their respective tanks and outlets. Water supply plumbers may also, at times, unclog sanitary and kitchen drains in the event of blockages.

2. Sanitary Plumbers

Plumber working on a toilet.

Sanitary plumbers are the most commonly contacted plumbers. These plumbing experts perform a number of different plumbing tasks ranging from cleaning and unblocking sanitary log jams to installing bathroom and toilet pipes. Sanitary plumbers are also responsible for fitting suspended drains. Anything and everything related to sanitary pipes, tanks, and plumbing systems are overseen by a sanitary plumber including bathtub installation, removal, and maintenance. These plumbers also fit boilers and water heating systems in toilets and showers, even though they specifically need to be qualified for such installation procedures.

Hiring the Right Type of Plumber

Now that you are aware of different types of plumbers, you should also know how to hire the right plumber. It is very important that the plumber you hire has a good track record, is skilled and expert at his job. Plumbing is one of the most important services that every household needs. Good plumbing can make your life smoother, easier, and hassle-free whereas the wrong plumbing can make your house a mess! We have made hiring the right plumber easier for you. Just follow the tips closely and you are covered.

Accreditations and Licensure

One needs a license to perform any job. Yes. Even a plumber needs to have a license. A license is a guarantee that the individual knows how to do the job. Do not shy away in asking the plumbing service provider if they are accredited or if the plumber they will be sending over for the job has a license or not. If yes, you can hire them and get the job done, but if not, look for other, more reliable options.


Experience can tell a lot about the reliability and skills of a plumber. The more experienced a plumber is, the better he would be at his job. Before you hire a plumber, ask the plumbing company to enlighten you with the information about the clients the plumber has worked for in the past. Moreover, you can check reviews on the website of the plumbing company that you are planning to hire. If they have been in the market for a fairly long time, it means they have been doing their job skillfully.


Never jump into hiring the first plumber you talk to. Take quotes from at least 3 plumbing companies and then decide. As long as they have a license and have a good track record, you can confidently pay a higher cost.


If the plumber that you are planning to hire is transparent with you, they are most likely to be reliable. If a plumber is reluctant in sharing his experiences or disclosing which clients he has worked for in the past, he most probably has a bad reputation with them. Needless to say, the level of transparency of the plumber or the company says a lot about their reputation and performance.

Warranty and Insurance

If the plumber is offering a warranty and insurance, they are probably skilled enough to be confident about their work. A bad plumber would never offer you a warranty because they would know the work they have done is not reliable or long-lasting.

Emergency Responsiveness

Any plumber or plumbing service that is responsive to emergencies is a good option. Plumbing emergencies can be serious and one cannot wait for a plumber for days or weeks. A company that is willing to help you on the weekends or holidays is good-to-go!

Primary Plumber

Various types of plumbing tools.

In order to be designated as a primary plumber, a plumber has to pass an examination. Each state has different prerequisites for the test. Before taking the test, a plumber has to have certain training and experience. It might include 2 years of vocational learning and 4 years of experience working as a journeyman plumber.

After an individual meets all prerequisites of the tests and clears it, the state issues them a license after which they can offer their plumbing services for all low-risk and high-risk plumbing jobs.

The next time you need a plumber, analyze the problem and see which plumber would be able to do the job best. You certainly don’t want to pay a hefty amount to a commercial plumber to fix a pipe at your home. Neither can you risk hiring a residential plumber who has experience in working in small scale settings to work at the sewage lines in your office. Hire the right type of plumber for the job to make sure the job has been done right!

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