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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    15
    my brother is a licensed plumber (local) the joke between us is.... the 3 things a plumber needs to know...
    1. $#!t rolls downhill.
    2. NEVER chew your fingernails.
    3. Payday is on friday.

    all joking aside BOTH are good careers and alot of times are tied together.
    Both will be physically demanding (you are 48...)

    I agree with dodge about finding a company that covers all 3 (air /poop/power) and see what you like.

    lots of my family have retired from the union with good pensions but with physical (shoulders/ knees/ back issues from pipefitting. my brother has LOTS of certs so he is always employed which is a big key no matter which field..... diversify as much as possible.

    what was the field you were dislocated from???

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    1,241
    My viewpoint:

    Plumbing is more labor intensive, more digging holes, more fighting with 75 year old cast iron pipe in inaccessible locations. Plumbers typically get dirtier than HVAC techs. septic tanks, sewer lines, muddy trenches. On a work site, plumbers pinch their sandwiches by the corner and throw the corner out without eating it. Plumbers need to know the code and need to know lots of construction trades so I don't mean to imply that plumbing isn't a smart man's trade but it does require less complex thinking and troubleshooting ability than HVAC most of the time.

    But HVAC has it's down sides too. You need to know more electrical than an plumber, in fact more than some electricians since control circuits are a whole field of their own. Plumbers rarely spend an hour standing on a flat black roof in the sun on a 100Ί day.

    I prefer HVAC work. It just seems that most of the time, with HVAC there is a problem and it can be fixed. Whenever I get involved in a plumbing problem, it always leads to a dozen other plumbing problems and I get frustrated.

    Check out a plumbing discussion forum. Not as lively discussion as here, rarely is there a thought provoking work question asked, and the crowd isn't as helpful. I think that's typical of the two trades too.
    Ryan
    Maintenance Guy
    -----------------
    naysayer, skeptic, conspiracy theorist

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by michigan1 View Post
    that is completely false on all levels
    Required tool list for union plumbers in my area:

    Stick rule
    Pencil
    Slip joint pliers (Channellocks)

    Fitters are about the same, IIRC

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    358
    It depends on what you enjoy. I went back to school at 40 and got seduced by HVAC. I like finding and fixing problems and I enjoy the diversity of knowledge needed to be a decent service tech. You'll always be learning, if you are wise.

    FYI, our other service tech was a service plumber for 25 years and got tired of it.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    3,228
    most plumbers i know have a shovel in there hands %25 of the time. This includes commercial work. last time i touched a shovel during work was to dig out a condenser the landscapers buried in mulch. 8" all around the unit

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    toronto
    Posts
    15
    ...it also depends on where you live because in some American states the plumbing code is a joke...and thats why HVAC would be slightly more interesting.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    lancaster ca
    Posts
    68
    HVAC all the way i dont like smelling my own poop sure dont want to touch someone elses

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    709
    Quote Originally Posted by neophytes serendipity View Post
    Required tool list for union plumbers in my area:

    Stick rule
    Pencil
    Slip joint pliers (Channellocks)

    Fitters are about the same, IIRC
    Exactly, I am an hvac tech and I do plumbing and pipefitting too. I have a service van that is jammed packed with tools, hardly room for any parts. Majority of my tools are for hvac work. Meters, guages, benders, swagers, every handtool and mechanical tool in the book, etc. etc. etc...

    If I just did plumbing, I could unload 3/4 of my tools especially all the extra handtools in my bag. I would still carry all my powertools, rotohammer, sawsall, chopsaw, circ saw etc.

    On the pay side, plumbers and pipefitters in my area make more money! thats just the way it is, I would be interested michigan1 for you to elaborate on your point that I am wrong on so many levels, not saying you are a liar just want to hear your opinion

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