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Plumbers’ role as essential workers in every community

    • How plumbers protect health and safety
    • How plumbers protect your home
    • Source permits, perform work to SANS standards and do CPD (Continuous Professional Development)

The plumbing industry isn’t recognised anywhere near enough for being an essential service, but life as we know it would be impossible (and unsanitary) without plumbers.

Plumbers are unsung heroes whose skills and knowledge make modern life convenient, healthy, and safe. As Proudly Essential Pros, their work hardly ever stops. They’re often called out at night, over weekends, holidays, or even midnight emergencies. The importance of plumbers to our communities extends even to environmental protection and water conservation, in which they play a key role.

Plumbers do their jobs humbly, don’t like to brag, and do it without much recognition. In truth, urban communities wouldn’t exist without city and suburban plumbers and plumbing infrastructure. Plumbers deserve our respect and recognition as Proudly Essential Pros.

So here’s some much overdue recognition.

    • Plumbers are essential workers in communities: Behind every emergency is a plumber who makes their essential work possible by installing sterile scrub sinks, fire hydrants, and irrigation systems. Yet plumbers themselves don’t often receive recognition for their equally essential role in protecting our health, homes, and environment.
    • How plumbers protect health and safety: Plumbing infrastructure is critical to our health and safety. Access to clean tap water allows us to wash our hands and regularly bathe or shower. According to the Centers for Disease Control, water-dependent hygiene practices can reduce the spread of diarrheal diseases by up to 50% and respiratory diseases by up to 16%. Foodborne illnesses are also less common with proper handwashing. Once clean water is contaminated, it must be safely disposed of through the sewage system. Plumbers maintain these pipes, too, ensuring sewage and dangerous sewer gases never enter our homes or our clean water supply lines. Because some plumbers also work with natural gas lines, they’re also responsible for protecting our health and safety by ensuring water heaters or furnaces aren’t leaking highly explosive natural gas or venting deadly carbon monoxide.
    • How plumbers protect your home: Plumbing problems can cause significant damage to homes. The onslaught of water from a burst pipe can ruin the floor, carpets and furniture. Improper venting or a slow leak can rot nearby wood and threaten the structural integrity of a home. Not only will your wallet take a hit in these circumstances, but so will your health, if mold and mildew start to grow on the newly damp surfaces affected by the plumbing problem. Plumbers protect our assets by finding, identifying, and fixing small problems before significant damage can take place. They can prevent or mitigate future issues by installing conveniently located shut-off valves or flood detection devices. In addition, good plumbers always keep the health and safety of their clients in mind when developing a solution to an existing problem.
    • How plumbers protect the environment: By properly installing and maintaining plumbing systems, plumbers protect the environment by ensuring harmful wastewater does not enter the drinking water stream. This benefits groundwater, streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans, plus all the life-forms that rely on those water sources. Plumbers have also been instrumental in educating home and business owners about the benefits of low-flow plumbing fixtures, which reduce water use and are especially critical in drought-prone areas. Without buy-in and promotion from plumbers, these devices wouldn’t be as common as they are today.
    • Plumber responsibilities in your home or commercial business: Plumbers have multifaceted responsibilities that require technical knowledge, familiarity with national plumbing standards codes and municipal laws, excellent customer service, and a fair amount of perseverance.
    • Install water, sewer and gas pipelines: Plumbers install brand-new pipelines in all types of buildings. They must carefully design the pipe layout to ensure adequate water pressure, drainage, and protection against sewer gases. For example, the correct pipe size, material, pathway, and slope impact the system’s performance.
    • Identify and repair issues: These essential workers are troubleshooters and problem solvers. Whether a client has a dripping faucet or a clogged sewer pipe, they can rest assured that their go-to plumber will get to the root of the problem and fix it according to current standards. To do their job well, they can’t be squeamish or afraid to work in challenging circumstances. Unpleasant sights and smells are common in the life of a plumber, as are tight crawl spaces, awkward pipe locations, and late-night service calls. Through it all, these essential workers manage to keep themselves and their clients safe while efficiently assessing the situation and fixing it to code.
    • Source permits, perform work to standards and do CPD (continuous professional development): Plumbers must be well-versed in the legal requirements of their job. This means sourcing permits to ensure their work is audited by IOPSA after completion that work is performed according to national standards. Code requirements or plumbing industry best practices can change at any time, so plumbers must also dedicate themselves to continuing education. Those who earn the rank of Master PLumber can also come full circle in the education process by mentoring new apprentices.
    • Deliver excellent customer service: Plumbers can take away your worry and stress thanks to their expertise, education, and ability to clearly explain what’s going on without being an alarmist. Even though some plumbing jobs—like replacing a sink drain—can be performed by the DIY crowd, hiring a plumber takes away all doubt about the integrity of the work being done. Although plumbers don’t earn bachelor’s degrees, they do complete rigorous schooling and apprenticeship programs that typically last four or five years. To become licensed and work independently as a journeyman, most states require plumbers to pass a written exam that tests their knowledge of plumbing standards. In short, when you hire a licensed plumber, you hire a proven expert. A plumber’s license is worth as much respect as completing a university degree.

Plumbers make modern life possible

Plumbers remain essential workers in our community for one simple reason: They make modern life possible. Most of us don’t know a world without clean streets, hygienic kitchens, hot water, and indoor bathrooms, so it’s easy to take these luxuries—and the people who make them happen—for granted. It’s time to celebrate these Proudly Essential Pros for the incredible services they provide. Thank you, plumbers, for your hard work and dedication. You keep our community and environment healthy and safe!

Written by Eamonn Ryan

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