For many centuries, lead was the favoured material for water pipes, because its malleability made it practical to work into the desired shape. (Such use was so common that the word "plumbing" derives from plumbum, the Latin word for lead.) This was a source of lead-related health problems in the years before the health hazards of ingesting lead were fully understood; among these were stillbirths and high rates of infant mortality. Lead water pipes were still widely used in the early 20th century, and remain in many households. In addition, lead-tin alloy solder was commonly used to join copper pipes, but modern practice uses tin-antimony alloy solder instead, in order to eliminate lead hazards.
Becoming a plumber is a two-pronged process that includes practical training and study. Traditionally, a hopeful plumber begins a four- or five-year apprenticeship program to receive technical education and complete the required hours of on-the-job training under a licensed professional. Plumbers who have successfully completed their apprenticeship are known as journeymen.
Although plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters perform three distinct and specialized roles, their duties are often similar. For example, they all install pipes and fittings that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. They determine the necessary materials for a job, connect pipes, and perform pressure tests to ensure that a pipe system is airtight and watertight. Their tools include drills, saws, welding torches, and wrenches.
When a person has a blockage in their sewage system they often try to fix it themselves by adding an acid or a base such as Drano in an attempt to dissolve or dislodge the problem. These chemicals can get into the plumbers eyes when the sewage is splashed during the repair. The plumbers skin during the repair does come into contact with the sewage water. The owner of the toilet might not report to the plumber they have already tried Drano a highly caustic base .
A handyman walked away from the job after cutting off the water to my mother's house and removing a toilet. He did this while I was attending a funeral. My mother is 87 years old. Called Atomic Plumbing and Ryan Dean responded Saturday afternoon and restored water to the house. He finished the job Sunday morning. He was the nicest, courteous, neat plumber I have ever met. I can't say enough good things about Atomic Plumbing from the employee who took my call to Ryan Dean's excellent service.