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???
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.
naysayer, skeptic, conspiracy theorist
Required tool list for union plumbers in my area:
Originally Posted by michigan1
Slip joint pliers (Channellocks)
Fitters are about the same, IIRC
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.
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
...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.
HVAC all the way i dont like smelling my own poop sure dont want to touch someone elses
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...
Originally Posted by neophytes serendipity
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