Plumbing is an ancient craft, dating back to ancient Persian, Grecian, Roman, Indian and Chinese civilisations. In ancient Rome, pipes were made from lead, and the word plumber originates from ‘plumbum’, the Latin word for lead.
Plumbing has come a long way since then. These days, there are plumbers specialising in any area of plumbing repairs and maintenance that a home or business could require. The systems covered by modern plumbing can be broadly divided into:
Plumbers install drainage systems to deal with excess surface water, rainwater and sub-surface water impacting a building. Plumbing repairs and maintenance are required when leaks, drain blockages or pipe bursts occur. Plumbers can find problem areas using CCTV equipment and use apparatus such as electric eels or high pressure water jets to clear blockages, but burst pipes need to be cut out and replaced.
- Septic systems
Septic systems are essentially localised sewage facilities. They need preventative maintenance and quick attention to repairs when required. They are installed by plumbers to an inlet waste water pipe at one end and drain into a septic drain field at the other.
- The supply of hot and cold water
This includes installation of appliances, toilets, taps, hot water tanks, solar hot water systems and piping connections to the water supply. All this contributes to the smooth running of a household or business, so any problems requiring plumbing maintenance or repairs should be attended to immediately by a qualified plumber.
- Gas piping
Modern plumbers attend to the supply not only of water but also of natural gas and LPG. Any gas leak constitutes a danger and a plumbing emergency, so be sure to call a plumber immediately if repairs are needed, and for regular system maintenance.
- Drain waste vent (DWV) systems
Drain waste vent systems are the drains that allow flow of sewage and grey water from a building, and facilitate the flow of waste by the regulation of air pressure. They include traps to stop sewage gases leaking into the house and vents to release them outside the building. Blocked or damaged drains and vents clogged by fallen leaves are the most common cause of the need for plumbing repairs and maintenance in DVW systems.
Plumbers may also specialise in the domestic, industrial or commercial arenas, or be qualified in all three. In modern times, environmental sustainability solutions have become a growing focus across the board.