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The Eight Best Plumbing Books for Plumbing Professionals

Whether you need to read up on regulations or learn some new skills, a good plumbing book can surely boost your industry knowledge.

You need a good memory to succeed in a technical trade like plumbing. From international codes to mathematical calculations to specialized procedures, you’ve got a lot to remember. That’s why you should consider keeping a few of the best plumbing books at hand as reference material. It never hurts to look something up, even if you’re a master plumber with years of experience under your belt. 

On the other hand, if you’re brand new to the trade and want to know if you have what it takes to begin an apprenticeship, cracking open these books can give you excellent insight into what you can expect to learn from a formal plumbing education. And if you’re already in an apprenticeship, you can’t have too many books at your disposal. You can always learn something new or reinforce what you already know by reading a different person’s take on the plumbing trade.

Regardless of your current credentials, one thing remains certain; a homeowner’s DIY plumbing book just won’t cut it when this trade is (or will be) your bread and butter. We’ve compiled a list of the best plumbing books for serious plumbing professionals. 

1. Residential Construction Academy: Plumbing

Residential Construction Academy: Plumbing

Written by Michael A. Joyce and Ray Holder, Residential Construction Academy: Plumbing is a textbook that serves as an excellent reference for professional residential plumbers, even if your apprenticeship days are well behind you. Although some of the initial chapters on tools and materials may seem like Plumbing 101, you’ll still likely learn something new and valuable by reading this book cover to cover. It goes in-depth on topics like reading blueprints and installing drainage waste and vent systems, and includes an entire section on troubleshooting plumbing problems.

The National Home Builder’s Association collaborated with Cengage Learning in order to create and publish this educational text book, and each chapter ends with review questions, practice procedures, applicable codes, and a “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” critical thinking exercise. If you have apprentices on your team, you can use the review questions as a pop quiz or to test yourself and stay sharp. 

2. International Plumbing Code (International Code Council Series)

International Plumbing Code (International Code Council Series)

As a professional plumber, it’s your job to know the contents of the International Plumbing Code (unless your jurisdiction has adopted the Uniform Plumbing Code, which you can read about below). Published by the International Code Council (ICC), these codes keep you and your clients safe by ensuring that all licensed plumbers perform their work to a certain standard while avoiding hazards as much as possible. 

But the ICC updates its codes and requirements periodically as technology, science, and even politics change the plumbing landscape. Having the latest copy of the International Plumbing Code for reference helps you stay on top of new requirements and refresh your memory on those you don’t encounter too often. Whether you do residential or commercial plumbing, you’ll get a lot of value out of this tome.

3. Uniform Plumbing Code

Uniform Plumbing Code

If you live in the western U.S., your state might follow the Uniform Plumbing Code instead of the ICC. The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials created this comprehensive code in 1926 in response to a lack of regulation in the plumbing industry. Grab a copy of the most recent edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code for information on sustainable plumbing practices, potable and non-potable rainwater catchment systems, alternate plumbing systems, and the latest technology introduced into the plumbing industry. 

4. PHCC Educational Foundation’s Plumbing Series

PHCC Educational Foundation's Plumbing Series

The Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors (PHCC) has a popular educational book series. Split into four installments and meant to accompany a plumbing apprentice’s formal education, Plumbing 101, Plumbing 202, Plumbing 301, and Plumbing 401 provide comprehensive training for new plumbers. Each volume builds on the previous installment, so it’s best to buy a complete set and read them in order. Be sure to get the latest editions to get up-to-date code information and newly added chapters. 

Plumbing 101 gives a basic overview of the tools and principles of the trade, as well as introduces some of the most common codes from both the International Code Council and Uniform Plumbing Code. Plumbing 201 dives right into water pipe sizing, potable water distribution, sewage systems, water heaters, and much more. Recognizing that plumbing requires business acumen as well, this book explains what professionalism means and how to effectively communicate with clients and co-workers.

Plumbing 301 explains installation procedures, layouts, blueprint reading, and more. With a special focus on the science behind plumbing technology, this volume discusses water treatment, LP systems, hydronic systems, and the mathematical calculations and conversions used by plumbers. Finally, Plumbing 401 brings it all together with advanced topics applicable to commercial, residential, industrial, and institutional plumbing. Throughout all four volumes, the authors favor a hands-on and practical approach to plumbing education.

5. The Complete Guide to Plumbing

The Complete Guide to Plumbing

The Complete Guide to Plumbing written by BLACK+DECKER is one of the most updated books for anyone looking to do their home plumbing work. This book includes detailed pictures in color as well as easily understood step-by-step instructions for all the plumbing needs you may have. It is a 228-page guide so it should have plenty of detailed information about many of the possible plumbing scenarios. While plumbing and residential codes change it’s important to purchase the newest or most updated version. The newest version of BLACK+DECKER’s Complete guide to plumbing is updated to ensure it is in line with all of the plumbing and residential codes that have changed.

6. Plumbing 1-2-3

Plumbing 1-2-3

Plumbing 1-2-3 written by “The Home Depot” is a book with information, step-by-step guides, and tips for over 90 common repairs for plumbing in your home. It’s 224 pages long and includes indoor and outdoor plumbing jobs. Plumbing 1-2-3 even has troubleshooting tips for you to determine if you are comfortable or have the skills to perform the plumbing task at hand. The book would benefit from better-detailed images and project guides so it may cause trouble for newer plumbers that don’t already know the basics.

7. Plumbing Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish

Plumbing Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Fish

Written by Rex Cauldwell Plumbing Complete: Expert advice from start to finish is a wonderful book with lots of knowledge about plumbing and other related jobs. This book goes beyond just step-by-step guides but will give you an understanding of a drain system and how it works.

It provides helpful information about the tools you will be exposed to while doing the jobs. Plumbing Complete will also teach you how to install a new bathtub and repair toilets or kitchen appliances. This is a pretty well-rounded book that can be useful for anyone new to plumbing or even people who have some past plumbing experience.

8. Plumbing Do-IT-Yourself For Dummies

Plumbing Do-IT-Yourself For Dummies

If you are new to the plumbing scene and want to be able to DIY your plumbing instead of spending all the money needed for hiring one, you may want the book written by Donald R. Prestly, Plumbing Do-It-Yourself For Dummies. This book includes 40 of the most common plumbing tasks in your home.

The simple step-by-step process along with detailed instructions and nicely illustrated pictures make all of these plumbing jobs easy to follow even for those who have no knowledge about plumbing. They even include useful information about the tools commonly needed for plumbing. This 170-page book will teach you all you need to know about plumbing in your own home and save you plenty of money in the process.

Buyers Guide

When shopping for plumbing books it’s important to have to most current edition of the book to avoid dated information and issues with plumbing or residential code changes.

There are many places to buy books, two of the most common methods are brick-and-mortar bookstores and somewhere online like Amazon. Typically, both of these options will offer different price points for the same books so be sure to shop around to find the best deal. Stores will also sometimes offer discounts for those who sign up for an email subscription or rewards program. This can be a super easy way to purchase the books at a much cheaper price, as long as you don’t mind a few extra emails in your inbox.

Always remember that there are different skill levels to these plumbing books. Some may be suitable for beginners and others for the experts in the industry. Make sure the books you are purchasing fit your skill level and meet the requirements you need to help you complete your plumbing tasks.

Final Thoughts

Plumbing books can be a wonderful way to add skills to your toolbox. They can help veteran plumbers learn new codes, find the right tools, or even learn a new specialties. They can also be helpful to beginners who just want help fixing a leaky pipe.

Books aren’t the only way to add more tools to your toolbox. At Smart Service, our industry leading field service software can turn your plumbing business into a streamlined workhorse. Smart Service software makes everyday work process like scheduling, dispatching, and routing, a breeze.

If you are already used to using Quickbooks scheduling software, even better. Smart Service works in a symbiotic nature with Quickbooks and integrates seamlessly to add an increased amount of functionality. Smart Service even has a mobile field service app called iFleet that can supercharge your technicians in the field. Try a free software demo today!