A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum",
The word "plumber" dates from the Roman Empire. The Latin for lead is plumbum. Roman roofs used lead in conduits and drain pipes4 and some were also covered with lead, lead was also used for piping and for making baths.5 In medieval times anyone who worked with lead was referred to as a plumber as can be seen from an extract of workmen fixing a roof in Westminster Palace and were referred to as plumbers "To Gilbert de Westminster, plumber, working about the roof of the pantry of the little hall, covering it with lead, and about various defects in the roof of the little hall".6 Thus a person with expertise in working with lead was first known as a Plumbarius which was later shortened to plumber.
Boiler - materials
The pressure vessel of a boiler is usually made of steel (or alloy steel), or historically of wrought iron. Stainless steel, especially of the austenitic types, is not used in wetted parts of boilers due to corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. However, ferritic stainless steel is often used in superheater sections that will not be exposed to boiling water, and electrically-heated stainless steel shell boilers are allowed under the European "Pressure Equipment Directive" for production of steam for sterilizers and disinfectors.
In live steam models, copper or brass is often used because it is more easily fabricated in smaller size boilers. Historically, copper was often used for fireboxes (particularly for steam locomotives), because of its better formability and higher thermal conductivity; however, in more recent times, the high price of copper often makes this an uneconomic choice and cheaper substitutes (such as steel) are used instead.
For much of the Victorian "age of steam", the only material used for boilermaking was the highest grade of wrought iron, with assembly by rivetting. This iron was often obtained from specialist ironworks, such as at Cleator Moor (UK), noted for the high quality of their rolled plate and its suitability for high-reliability use in critical applications, such as high-pressure boilers. In the 20th century, design practice instead moved towards the use of steel, which is stronger and cheaper, with welded construction, which is quicker and requires less labour. It should be noted, however, that wrought iron boilers corrode far slower than their modern-day steel counterparts, and are less susceptible to localized pitting and stress-corrosion. This makes the longevity of older wrought-iron boilers far superior to those of welded steel boilers.
Cast iron may be used for the heating vessel of domestic water heaters. Although such heaters are usually termed "boilers" in some countries, their purpose is usually to produce hot water, not steam, and so they run at low pressure and try to avoid actual boiling. The brittleness of cast iron makes it impractical for high-pressure steam boilers.
Years of training and/or experience are needed to become a skilled plumber; some jurisdictions also require that plumbers be licensed.
Some needed skills, interests, and values
Reading drawings, and specifications to determine layout of water supply, waste, and venting systems
Detecting faults in plumbing appliances and systems, and correctly diagnosing their causes
Installing, repairing and maintaining domestic, commercial, and industrial plumbing fixtures and systems
Locating and marking positions for pipe connections, passage holes, and fixtures in walls and floors
Measuring, cutting, bending, and threading pipes using hand and power tools or machines
Joining pipes and fittings together using soldering techniques, compression fittings, threaded fittings, and push-on fittings.
Testing pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
Awareness of legal regulations and safety issues
Ensuring safety standards and build regulations are met.
Each state and locality may have its own licensing and taxing schemes for plumbers. There is no federal law establishing licenses for plumbers.
Plumbers in the United Kingdom are required to pass Level 2 and Level 3 vocational requirements of the City and Guilds of London Institute.