Beyond The Faucet: Four Different Types of Plumbers

Written by The Valve+Meter Team / December 15, 2021 / 5 Minute Read
Article Preview

Plumbing is essential for homes, businesses, and the infrastructure of the United States. From homes to high-rises, plumbing professionals ensure our water systems flow seamlessly. Uncover six types of plumbers and their unique skills and roles within this article.


Introduction to the Different Types of Plumbing Services

Behind the faucets, showerheads, drains, and toilets in homes and businesses is a vast and often hidden network of plumbing systems.

The professionals who build, maintain, and repair plumbing fixtures, pipe systems, and appliances are prominent but often misunderstood. From the residential plumber who clears your clogged drain to the commercial plumber in charge of industrial sanitation systems, understanding the different types of plumbers is key for Valve+Meter Performance Marketing.

As a data-driven plumbing marketing agency, our team helps plumbing businesses build sustainable go-to-market strategies.

Understanding the different types of plumbers and plumbing services is vital to helping them connect with their specific audiences.

In this article, we’re diving deep into their world, unraveling the unique roles and expertise of four primary types of plumbers who keep our water systems running smoothly.

Key Data About The Plumbing Industry

There are a number of key statistics about the plumbing industry that offer insights into the range of roles.

As the fifth-largest construction category in the US, the industry as a whole is valued at $126.40 billion. This includes diverse plumbing businesses ranging from small businesses employing just a few people to large national companies.

Let’s examine the four most common types of plumbers working in this field:

  • Residential plumbers
  • Commercial plumbers
  • Service and repair plumbers
  • Construction Plumbers
Revenue $126.40 B
Plumbing industry total revenue was $126.40 billion in 2023.
Size of Industry #5
Plumbing is the fifth-largest construction category in the US

Residential Plumbers

The most recognizable type of plumber, residential plumbers specialize in home plumbing systems.

Accounting for the largest segment of workers in the industry, residential plumbing businesses install, repair, and maintain pipes and fixtures in residential properties. They deal with issues like clogged drains, leaking pipes, and installing faucets, toilets, sinks, and other fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms.

These plumbers are skilled in working in various home environments and ensuring that household plumbing operates efficiently.

A residential plumber is often called upon for routine maintenance or emergency repairs. They possess a deep understanding of home plumbing layouts and are adept at troubleshooting problems specific to residential structures. Their work is crucial in keeping households functional and comfortable.

Commercial Plumbers

Commercial plumbers focus on plumbing systems in business properties like offices, schools, and hospitals. Their work often involves larger-scale plumbing systems compared to residential plumbers.

Generally, the scope of commercial plumbing is similar to residential but on a much larger scale. They are skilled in installing high-capacity pipework and fixtures suited for commercial use, ensuring these systems meet the specific needs and regulations of businesses.

A commercial plumber works in more complex environments, dealing with advanced plumbing systems that serve a large number of users. They must understand the intricacies of commercial-grade plumbing and are skilled in maintaining systems that can withstand heavy usage while adhering to health and safety standards.

Service and Repair Plumbers

Service and repair plumbers are the troubleshooters of the plumbing world. They excel in diagnosing and fixing problems in an existing plumbing system.

Within a plumbing business, the first service and repair plumber on scene typically is an apprentice or journeyman plumber. In some states, where licensing does not exist or is not required, a handyman may offer repairs of simple plumbing problems.

The primary expertise of a service and repair plumber is in quickly identifying issues and providing efficient, lasting repairs to pipes, fixtures, and water systems. Repair plumbers may also work on appliances like washing machines, water heaters, dishwashers, and garbage disposals.

This type of plumber is often the first responder to plumbing emergencies. They have a knack for quickly assessing and addressing urgent plumbing issues. Their role demands a broad skill set and the ability to make quick, effective decisions to restore plumbing functionality.

Construction Plumbers

Construction plumbers are integral to the building industry. They are involved in the planning and installation of plumbing systems in new constructions, including residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Their work is foundational, ensuring that plumbing systems are designed and installed correctly from the start.

A construction plumber combines plumbing expertise with knowledge of building and construction. They collaborate closely with other professionals to integrate plumbing systems seamlessly into new buildings. Their precision and foresight in laying out pipes and fixtures are essential for the long-term functionality of these systems.

Specialized Plumbers

A fifth type of plumber falls into the specialized field, including sanitary and water supply plumbers. Specialized plumbers work in niche areas like gas plumbing, industrial plumbing, and environmental plumbing.

Sanitary plumbers focus on sewage systems in various buildings, while water supply plumbers specialize in installing and maintaining systems that bring fresh water into buildings.

Specialized plumbers may work for an HVAC company dealing with gas lines and other heating and cooling plumbing.

Industrial plumbers manage large-scale systems at private or municipal properties.

Sanitary plumbers ensure effective wastewater management, crucial for sanitation and public health.

Water supply plumbers, meanwhile, are vital for ensuring a safe and reliable fresh water supply, dealing with pipes, tanks, and fittings that connect to city or well systems.


The plumbing industry is highly diversified from novice plumbers who gain experience performing regular maintenance and simple repairs to highly-trained, master plumbers who deliver complex commercial plumbing services.

This brief examination only touches the surface of the world of plumbing. This industry is multifaceted and changes constantly.

With over 480,000 plumbers in the US, these professionals ensure our homes and commercial buildings function smoothly. From water supply to waste removal, each type of plumber specializes in a crucial aspect, contributing significantly to our well-being and the smooth operation of our societies.

At Valve+Meter, we have a team of business professionals utilizing data and industry insights to power plumbing businesses of all types and sizes. Collaborating with our partners, we capture more plumbing jobs from toilet repairs to commercial office buildings.

Learn more with Valve+Meter through our plumbing blogs or contact our team to inquire about marketing for your plumbing needs.

FAQs: Addressing Common Questions About Plumbing Specializations

Typically, plumbers specializing in commercial or industrial plumbing tend to have the highest earnings, reflecting the complexity and scale of their work. A fully licensed plumber, specifically a professional with a master plumber’s license earns a higher average salary than a journeyman plumber.

A plumbing service may offer both types of plumbing and the type of work is similar. The scope of the work is the primary difference.

Residential plumbers primarily work in home settings, focusing on smaller-scale installations and repairs, while commercial plumbers handle complex systems in larger buildings like offices and factories, often dealing with higher volumes and more stringent regulations.