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Plumber vs. Technician
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Plumbing 10/5/15

Plumber vs. Technician

We came across an interesting article in a great industry online newsletter asking the question, what’s the difference between a plumber and a technician?

Although we tend to disagree with how it was answered, we definitely thought it was worth talking about, especially since at Bill Howe Plumbing, we tend to use these terms interchangeably.

In our expert opinion, and we have worked hard for over 35 years to be experts in San Diego plumbing, it boils down to semantics. The most important question consumers should be focused on is whether or not the professionals they hire are in fact professionals, whether they use the term plumbers or technicians!

Webster’s Dictionary defines each term as follows:

Plumber, noun

  1. a person who installs and repairs piping, fixtures, appliances, and appurtenances in connection with the water supply, drainage systems,etc., both in and out of buildings.

Technician,  noun

  1. a person who is trained or skilled in the technicalities of a subject or occupation.

Both definitions are correct, but they leave out so much about the profession of plumbing that truly affects home and business owners facing problems.

In the article, it was mentioned that anyone can watch a YouTube video and learn how to DIY a plumbing problem, install an appliance, snake a drain. While YouTube is a great resource to help people do small jobs on their own, there are handyman out there using it as a learning tool and it doesn’t mean it is being done correctly, safely and up to Plumbing Code. And in San Diego, plumber or technician doesn’t always mean you’re getting someone trained and skilled. There are very few laws protecting you from someone who professes to be “right for the job.”

A technician sounds fancy, skilled, educated and qualified, but anyone can call themselves a technician. And a licensed professional plumber with training and education and years of experience is a skilled craftsman worthy of a lofty title, but may simply choose to call themselves the “plumber!”

Many of our own Bill Howe plumbers are licensed Journeyman in San Diego, having gone through the required 4-year program with rigorous training and assessment. Many of our plumbers prefer the term plumber. They are proud of their training and skill, proud to serve San Diego ethically, professionally, and safely. In fact, at Bill Howe, we have over 80 San Diego plumbers and technicians (across divisions) with over 600 years of combined service at our company alone. That doesn’t even account for the years of experience they bring with them when joining the Bill Howe team.

So when you have a problem, whether it is a clogged sink, gas leak, water heater in need of service or replacement, or any number of issues that fall under the vast realm of “Plumbing,” ask yourself not what your professional should be called, but are they qualified for that job.

Check the California State License Board and ensure that any individual or company entering your home has the appropriate license without blemishes. Most plumbing contractors hold a C-36 and must maintain high standards and insurance to protect your assets. If they are being sent out form one of the larger companies in San Diego, make sure the technician, or plumber, shows up in uniform with a marked vehicle displaying the company’s license number(s), introduce themselves, and take pride in what they are doing. Are they a member of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Contractors Association in San Diego; an organization whose mission is to protect the safety and health of the community?

These are the factors to take into consideration when hiring your professional in San Diego. And of course, Bill Howe Plumbing is all of these things, and has been for over 35 years. But, we are also part of a strong community of great professionals all working towards the same goal-our customers’ safety, our employees’ success, and our communities’ benefit.

When in doubt, call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469), the trusted name in San Diego since 1980.



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What Joel C says about us

Very Satisfied. Michael is always on time, Michael has been doing all of the plumbing related to our remodel. He always does exactly what he commits to do within the estimated cost. He keeps me informed if any wrinkles pop up, and his plumbing skills are excellent as we have had no problems or issues arise after he has left. Very professional! Highly recommend.

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What Rick M says about us

We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

August 2019


What Carolyn Housman says about us

This was our second excellent experience with Bill Howe. We had a blocked kitchen sink drain 8/5. I was able to get a same day appointment which is AMAZING. Person on phone was very courteous and set me up right away. Tony arrived at the house (called me 30 minutes out so I was able to be ready). He diagnosed the issue (blocked drain, not the garbage compactor) and was able to snake it and ran the water for 10 minutes to be sure the drains were clear. He cleaned up everything and you would not have known he was even there. Thank-you Tony and Bill Howe, you always know how.

August 2019


What Ed Gohlich says about us

Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

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What Eric says about us

I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

January 2019


What Bridgett says about us

I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

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