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All people need water to carry out different functions in their daily lives. It is fair to say that most of us do not even think too much about the many ways in which we use water in our homes, nor where it comes from before it reaches our taps. That is, until something goes wrong and we are suddenly faced with a lack of water when we turn the taps on, or have too much of it because of a breakage or leak somewhere in the plumbing system and water is pouring all over the floor or through the ceiling from a burst geyser. When emergencies such as these happen, we need the services of a qualified and experienced plumber to sort the problem out.
Plumbers are the specialists responsible for the installation and maintenance of water systems within buildings, whether these are situated in the industrial, commercial, corporate, health, business or private sectors. Water is used for consumption (drinking, cooking), sanitation, (washing and cleaning), cooling (think of air conditioners), drainage and sewerage. In order to fulfill these functions, water needs to be brought into and out of buildings through a system of pipes which need to be adequately supported or fixed to walls.
These pipes are connected to fixtures such as heating and cooling units and appliances such as air conditioners, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators, washbasins and sinks, bathtubs, toilets and water heating systems such as geysers. It is the responsibility of the plumber to install fixtures such as sinks, basins, baths and toilets and ensure that water can be supplied to and removed from these fixtures efficiently and without leaks or blockages.
They ensure that fittings and valves are correctly assembled prior to installation, and are also tasked with installing gas pipes for internal gas appliances. Plumbers are the “fix-it” guys who will ensure that all these systems are working correctly by identifying and repairing leaks and broken water connections, clearing blocked pipes and drains and repairing or replacing faulty geysers. During property renovations where the layout of existing kitchens, sculleries and bathrooms are completely revamped, a plumber will be called in to move the piping in accordance with the new design.
Plumbers are also called in as part of the ongoing need to conserve and harvest rainwater and collect internal - so-called ‘grey’ water water from showers, for instance, so that this can be used later for either household or garden use. Household use could include using the water for filling toilet cisterns or laundry use. Externally, plumbers are responsible for the installation of irrigation and water misting systems, particularly on large-scale projects such as plant nurseries and farms.
A plumber must have the necessary professional qualifications in order to practice his trade in any country. In South Africa, he must undergo a period of industry-recognised training and an apprenticeship before beginning to practice. A reputable plumber will be registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board. A career in plumbing may easily be started by working as an assistant to a qualified and experienced plumber, as hands-on training is always a valuable learning aid. Some plumbing installations require a reasonable knowledge of electrics, such as when installing a new geyser which is connected to the premises’ electricity supply. They are able to install refrigerators which have a plumbed-in water supply for ice or iced water and ensure that these are operating correctly.
Whilst plumbers are beginning to use the internet to expand their advertising visibility, their services do not generally lend themselves to exposure on dedicated websites. Nonetheless, you can use search sites such as Uptasker to locate a plumber in your specific geographical location. Uptasker has the added benefit of providing online ratings and customer reviews as they become available, so you can easily obtain real information on the value that service providers are giving. Alternatively, you can check the Yellow Pages, newspapers, house and home magazines or catalogues, renovation and building publications and brochures for their adverts. You may be lucky enough to find a plumber through flyers which are distributed at certain times with special offers and pricing, which is a definite bonus if you are looking for a plumber at the same time that they are offering specials.
Every private home- or business-owner has, at some time, needed the expertise of a plumber to repair irritating water issues stemming from leaky pipes or connections because of normal wear and tear on the moving parts such as taps or because of rust. Most home-owners have, at some time, had to face the disruption of a burnt-out geyser thermostat or damage caused by a burst geyser. Whether minor or major, these problems really need to be sorted out by an experienced and knowledgeable plumber who can do more than simply apply a temporary fix. Work with the best plumber you can afford from the beginning, and save yourself costly repairs further down the line. For more tips, see our plumber articles.