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What’s the difference between a plumber and a plumbing engineer?

“Plumbing engineer” might sound like a fancy term for “plumber.” As in, “Hey, the toilet’s broken. Let’s call the plumbing engineer, and avail ourselves of some top-notch plumbing engineering services.”

And if you said that, you’d be wrong.

A plumber is the person you call to fix a broken toilet, or to repair a leaky pipe in your basement. Plumbers are indispensable members of the professional engineering community – but a plumber is not the same as a plumbing engineer.

A plumbing engineer is the professional who designs the hot and cold water system in your home. A plumbing engineer, when your home was first built, was the one who made sure every pipe connection was correct and every delivery method was the most efficient possible. He or she chose materials for your plumbing and made sure the system would last for years to come. If your home is heated by natural gas, a plumbing engineer probably designed that delivery system, too.

Plumbing engineering is not repair. Plumbing engineering is design and implementation. Plumbing engineering is planning. Plumbing engineering is creation.

The Whole Building Design Guide provides what’s probably the best description of plumbing engineering:

The Plumbing Engineer is involved with systems that overlap into the mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering disciplines. The Plumbing Engineer is in a key position to influence the water efficiency, sustainable site, energy, fire protection, and pollution systems of a facility.

A plumbing engineer is qualified to oversee a wide scope of projects both public and private. For instance:

  • A plumbing engineer might help to design a stormwater management system for a new shopping center.
  • A fire protection engineer might work in concert with a plumbing engineer to make sure a new sprinkler system – or any other delivery system for fire retardant materials – will always be in working order.
  • A team of plumbing engineers might design an entire sewer system for a new housing development.

Plumbing engineers are charged with a wide variety of tasks – the least of which is simple plumbing.

Enerdyne Engineering, located in Yardley, Pennsylvania, specializes in plumbing engineering, as well as a host of other contract engineering and engineering consulting services. Contact us today for more information.

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