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What’s the Difference between a Plumber and a Heating Engineer?

So, you’re wondering who to use for your problem; a Plumber or a Heating Engineer?

This post aims to identify the differences between the two and point you in the right direction to solve your problem.

What’s the difference?


Historically, plumbers in Roman times worked with lead piping and this is where the word ‘plumber’ comes from. The meaning of the word originates from the Latin word ‘Plumbum’, meaning lead. Modern plumbing pipes are no longer made from lead; however, the name remains.

The modern plumber’s trade can cover a multitude of tasks including bathroom fitting, kitchen installation, sinks, drains and taps, as they work mostly on wet or dry pipes. If you’ve got a leak, it’s a plumber you’ll need to call! Other common plumbing jobs include:

▪️ Dishwasher installation

▪️ Dripping taps

▪️ Draining issues

▪️ Installation and maintenance of drainage, irrigation and sewage systems

Some plumbers are well trained on heating systems and install them regularly – but be sure to check they are Gas Safe Registered! This is something to look out for when calling a Plumber or Heating Engineer to solve your problem.

Heating Engineers

Heating Engineer’s ensure that properties are safely and efficiently heated. They install and maintain the pipe work, fixtures, and fittings which are used to heat a structure (meaning they are the ones to turn to if you want to book a boiler service, boiler repair or any other boiler issues). Heating Engineers typically work solely on heating and don’t venture into other aspects of work. Other common Heating Engineer jobs include:

▪️ Hot water system installation

▪️ Air conditioning installation

▪️ Central heating system installation

▪️ Underfloor heating

▪️ Gas safety checks

Of course, there are tradesmen who are qualified to do both, allowing them to run the pipes and fit a boiler in a property. At Max Shutler Plumbing & Heating, we’re fully insured and qualified Heating Engineers who have recently become Worcester Accredited Installer’s (as part of the Bosch Group) whilst ALSO being qualified plumbers able to carry out all aspects of domestic general plumbing installation, service and maintenance!

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