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January 22, 2021


The Four Best Plumbing Books for Plumbing Professionals

These books contain tons of great information for aspiring and veteran plumbers.

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

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)

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

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

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.