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Is a heating engineer same as a plumber? Which one do I call?

Published: 5 September 2019 - Sarah Mead

Sometimes it’s tough to determine whether you should call a heating engineer or a plumber to fix a certain problem in a building. With these two roles seeming a bit similar there are some important things that you should keep in mind before calling one or the other.

Interestingly, they are two very different trades, each requiring a specific skillset and tools to fix the problems associated with them.

It doesn’t matter if you need a plumber or a heating engineer, the first thing you should make sure that he is qualified and has the right tools for the job or else you would have much bigger problems on your hands. So, let’s take a brief look at what both of these professionals do and the which one should you call.

What does a heating engineer do?

A heating engineer, often known as Gas Safe Engineer, is someone who works solely on heating and ventilation systems of a building. These engineers are qualified to fix the central heating system or your boiler or to ensure that they are working properly. They are also trained to carry out a wide range of jobs like maintaining and installing the heating pipework during the construction of a building.

What does a plumber do?

The word “Plumber”, which is derived from the Latin word ‘Plumbum’, came from ancient Roman times where they used to work with lead piping and the sanitation system. Today’s plumbers work on dry, metal or plastic pipes to ensure that everything from the dishwasher to toilets and drains is working efficiently.

Whenever you have a problem with leaking, drainage problems, or any problem with the sanitation system of your building, you should call a plumber.

Can a Plumber work as a Heating Engineer? Do they use the same tools?

Although plumbers like to stick to working with pipes and drains, some might be qualified to work on heating appliances. Same goes for heating engineers as some of them might have experience working with the drainage system.

However, before allowing them to venture out of their expertise, you must ensure the following things.

  • Whether someone goes by the name of a Plumber or a Heating Engineer, you must make sure that they are Gas Safe. A Gas Safe engineer is an expert in maintaining and adjusting air or gas pipes. Any plumber who is working without a Gas Safe certificate is operating illegally and should be reported immediately.

  • If you are allowing someone to work on your heating system, you must make sure that they have all the heating engineer tools at their disposal.


When to Call a Plumber?

You should call a plumber if:

  • Your pipes are blocked

  • The drains are blocked

  • There is leaking in the pipes

  • You want work to be done in the kitchen

  • You want work to be done in the toilet


When to Call a Heating Engineer?

You can call a heating engineer if:

  • There is no hot water

  • Your central heating is not working

  • Your boiler is not working

  • Your boiler needs a service

  • You want to install a new boiler

  • You want a heating safety check

  • Your room thermostat isn’t working





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