Who Does What? The Difference Between a Plumber and a Heating Engineer.

man checking meter of boiler

Who do you call when your boiler breaks down?

There may be some confusion in the difference between a plumber and a heating engineer, as their roles seem quite similar.

Here’s a rundown of the difference between a plumber and a heating engineer:

What plumbers do

Plumbers can work with wet and dry pipes. They also work on the installation dishwashers, toilets and, bathrooms, repair leaks and dripping taps, and install and maintain household drainage and sewage systems.

As well as dealing with wet pipes, certain plumbers have experience with installing and repairing heating systems, such as timmillerplumbing.co.nz in Tasman Bay, but not all plumbers are qualified to do so. Installing and maintaining heating systems requires the necessary training and certification needed to work on these components.

What heating engineers do

If a plumber covers a broader range of pipework, the job of a heating engineer is more specialised. Heating engineers work solely on heating systems, with expertise in residential, commercial or industrial applications. They find and implement solutions for various heating needs. This includes all gas utilities and appliances such as stoves and heaters. Heating engineers also install, maintain and repair heating pipework, fixtures and fittings. Some plumbers can work on water and heating, but heating engineers do not venture into any other aspect of plumbing work.

Checking for the right qualifications

New Zealand has several organisations and colleges that award credentials to qualified plumbers and heating engineers. They must be certified members of heating industry bodies such as the Home Heating Association. They also need to adhere to standards set by Site Safe New Zealand, as a way to be recognised by their industry as showing commitment to health and safety. Plumbers, in particular, must also be members of Master Plumbers, a membership organisation that specialises in the plumbing, gas fitting and drain laying trades.  It’s best to check with your provider if they are equipped to work on the different types of central heating systems. Compliance with industry standards ensures that the work being done to your heating system is safe and complies with government regulations.

Whose services should I avail?

Plumbers are considered the Swiss army knife of tradesmen because their work scope covers a wider range of tasks. Heating engineers are limited but specialised. Ultimately, the role that works best for you will depend on your situation, the complexity of the equipment, time and scale of the job.