Plumbing equipment includes devices often hidden behind walls or in utility spaces which are not seen by the general public. It includes water meters, pumps, expansion tanks, backflow preventers, water filters, UV sterilization lights, water softeners, water heaters, heat exchangers, gauges, and control systems.
Specialized plumbing tools include pipe wrenches, flaring pliers, pipe vise, pipe bending machine, pipe cutter, dies and joining tools such as soldering torches and crimp tools. New tools have been developed to help plumbers fix problems more efficiently. For example, plumbers use video cameras for inspections of hidden leaks or problems, they use hydro jets, and high pressure hydraulic pumps connected to steel cables for trench-less sewer line replacement.
Flooding from excessive rain or clogged sewers may require specialized equipment, such as a heavy duty pumper truck designed to vacuum raw sewage.
Snakes for plumbing
Hand auger / hand spinner
Hand augers are useful for clearing sink and bathtub drains. They are unsuitable for sending through flush toilets, because the wire might damage the bowl; also, flush toilets have relatively large drain pipes in which the narrow snake can be become tangled. (A 1?4-inch cable, for example, should never be used in a drain with a calibre of more than two inches.)
Closet auger / toilet auger
The closet auger (named after water closet) feeds a relatively short auger through a hook-shaped length of metal tubing. The hook shape makes it easier to feed the auger into the toilet. A plastic boot on the end of the auger protects the finish of the visible porcelain. Since most toilet clogs occur in the trap built into the bowl, the short cable is sufficient to break up or retrieve the greater majority of clogs.
A drum auger is a motorized auger with modular blades designed for various gauges of pipe. A drum auger is powerful enough to cut through tree roots. Used unskillfully, they can also damage plastic pipework and even copper tubing.
Main article: Roto-Rooter
The Roto-Rooter is an electric auger invented in 1933 by Samuel Blanc, an American. His wife called the invention a Roto-Rooter, because the cable and blades rotated as they cut through tree roots inside sewer pipe. Competing companies made imitations after the Blanc's patent expired in 1953, but the machine is manufactured by and for a United States company called the Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service.
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.