Plumbers or heating engineers: who do I need?
Wondering whether to hire a plumber or a heating engineer? You’re not alone. Plumbers and heating engineers are professionals who work with different systems in a building. They’re hired during the final phases of construction and for the general maintenance of residential homes.
While the roles of a plumber and a heating engineer may seem similar, they actually have distinct specialisms and responsibilities.
Here’s how to work out who you need to call for your job.
The difference between a plumber and a heating engineer
When to hire a plumber (not a heating engineer)
Plumbers primarily deal with the installation, repair, and maintenance of pipes, fixtures, and other equipment used to distribute water and remove wastewater.
They are skilled in working with different types of materials, including copper, PVC, and cast iron. They also have knowledge of local building codes and regulations related to plumbing.
Hire a plumber for tasks such as:
- Installing, repairing, and maintaining the pipes and fixtures that carry water and waste in a building
- Installing and repairing plumbing systems in new constructions (e.g. toilets, showers, baths and sinks etc.)
- Repairing and replacing pipes and fixtures
- Unclogging and cleaning drains
- Plumbers may also install and repair gas lines and appliances, such as water heaters and boilers
Read our guide on how to find a good local plumber here.
When to hire a heating engineer (not a plumber)
Heating engineers specialise in the installation, repair, and maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. They also have expertise in working with different types of fuels, such as oil, gas, and electricity.
They can install and repair thermostats, ductwork, and other components of a heating system.
Hire a heating engineer for tasks such as:
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing heating systems in buildings
- Installing and repairing furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps
- Designing and installing HVAC systems in new construction
- Maintaining and repairing ventilation systems and air conditioning units
- Ensuring that the indoor air quality in a building is safe and comfortable
Related content: Hiring a renewable energy engineer.
Cost of a heating engineer
How much it costs to hire a heating engineer depends on the job you need them to come out and do.
You’re looking at between £240 to £600 per day with more basic repairs or fixes on the lower end and more complex jobs on the higher end. Note: this is for labour only. Any replacement of parts or equipment will cost more.
Cost of a plumber
Hiring a plumber for the day will cost you between £325 and £375 per day (£50 per hour). Of course, this also depends on the job at hand, and whether it’s an easy/quick fix or complex and time-consuming.
Read our plumber cost guide for more comprehensive information.
Best practice for hiring a plumber or heating engineer
When choosing a professional for your project, it’s important to understand the specific work that needs to be done and the qualifications required for that work.
- If you need to install or repair pipes or fixtures, you’ll want to hire a plumber.
- If you need to install or repair a heating system, you’ll want to hire a heating engineer.
Some trade professionals and businesses might have experience and qualifications in both fields, meaning they can provide both types of service.
It’s also important to check for licenses and certifications, as well as to read reviews and ask for references before hiring a professional.
Need some help finding a trustworthy plumber or heating engineer?
Use Checkatrade’s trusted site to hire your next tradesperson. All of our tradespeople have to pass our rigorous checks, and if they do, they get our trusted tick and a profile on our website. Then customers review their experience using any of our members.
Also, we trust in our members so much, we guarantee their work!
In summary, plumbers and heating engineers both play crucial roles in the construction and maintenance of buildings. While they may seem similar, they have distinct roles and responsibilities.
Plumbers handle the installation, repair, and maintenance of pipes and fixtures, while heating engineers handle the installation, repair, and maintenance of heating systems.
Be sure to understand the specific work that needs to be done and the qualifications required for that work before hiring a professional.