plumber on tub

Plumbers brave our disgusting clogs to keep our pipes running smoothly.

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For the modern American, the idea of living without indoor plumbing is unthinkable. Plumbing may be one of the greatest advances of society because it offers us significant comfort and convenience. No longer do we have to step outside to brave harsh elements of nature to get water from a well or to enjoy the privacy of the outhouse. So when pipes get clogged or spring a leak, most of us can't last long without calling in a plumber.

Plumbers have the quintessential blue-collar job, often having to crouch under sinks or through the crawl spaces under houses. If these cramped and dirty conditions aren't bad enough, they deal with our revolting clogs and waste or dangerously hot pipes. Customers commonly call with plumbing emergencies at all hours, making schedules unpredictable.

But despite the drawbacks, plumbers make a nice living, as even entry level plumbers typically pull in between $35,000 and $40,000 a year [source: Salary.com]. On average, plumbers make about $47,000 annually [source: CollegeBoard].