The Art of Problem Solving in Plumbing and Maintenance

When a pipe bursts, a drain clogs, or an appliance stops working, a plumber or maintenance repair professional arrives on the scene to take care of the problem. But first, they need to understand what’s gone wrong before they can fix the issue.

Part of becoming a plumber or maintenance repair worker involves developing your problem-solving skills, so you can quickly get to the root of the issue and restore a customer’s plumbing or appliances to good health. During a career certificate program or apprenticeship, you’ll learn the art of problem solving.

What Plumbers and Maintenance Professionals Do

Plumbers and maintenance professionals may be Mr. or Ms. Fix-It, but there’s more to the job than making repairs. They also inspect the appliances or fixtures that are having an issue, perform inspections of equipment that is still in working order, and determine what materials and tools are needed for a project.

Their jobs involve repair and upkeep as well as preventive maintenance, ensuring that equipment gets the attention and care it needs to keep operating smoothly for years to come.

Communication and Problem Solving

Listening is a hugely important skill for maintenance professionals and plumbers. Imagine this: You receive a call from a customer. They’re frustrated because their refrigerator stopped working and all their food is getting warm. Their ice cream is melting and the milk has spoiled. 

You’ll most likely need to visit their home to examine the refrigerator and get to the root of the problem. But it may also be the case that you can diagnose the problem just by listening to what they tell you. 

In some cases, a customer may struggle to describe what’s going on. That’s okay, as you’re the professional, not them. When that happens, ask them questions about the issue, such as when it started, what they see, hear, or feel, and if it’s happened before.

Learning to Problem Solve

You don’t have to start your career training with excellent problem-solving skills. In fact, you may not even know where to begin without some background and training. Whether you pursue a plumbing apprenticeship or enroll in a career certificate, you’ll learn how to problem solve. 

First, you’ll learn about what can go wrong with plumbing or appliances. When you have a basic understanding of common problems, you can learn how to identify them. Next, you’ll need to learn the common steps taken to fix an issue, whether it’s clearing a drain or adjusting the wiring in a refrigerator. 

Familiarity helps you hone your problem-solving skills, too. As you gain hands-on experience, either in your certificate course or apprenticeship, you’ll see real-world applications of common repair issues. After you’ve seen the same problem several times, you become better and faster at recognizing it. 

Explore Apprenticeships and Career Certificates

Before you can start offering maintenance or plumbing services, you need the right training. A career certificate program can help you prepare for an entry-level role as a plumber or appliance technician. An apprenticeship is a unique opportunity that lets you work and learn at the same time. 

Whether a certificate program or apprenticeship is right for you depends on your preferences and career goals. Apprenticeships typically last longer than career certificate programs, but prepare you for a higher level role after completion. You can finish a career certificate in under a year and start working quickly thereafter. 

Orange Technical College offers both certificate and apprenticeship programs in plumbing or maintenance. Contact us today to learn more about each type of program and for assistance choosing the one that’s right for you.