HVAC VS Plumbing | Salary Difference Between Plumber OR HVAC Technician

September 11, 2023

PLUMBING vs HVAC!! Most people think plumbing and HVAC systems are the same. But in reality, there is a lot of difference between plumbing and HVAC systems, i.e. plumber handles the plumbing systems, including water systems, piping, water drainage, etc. Whereas the HVAC technician has to deal with the heating and cooling systems. 

Plumbers are responsible for more than unclogging toilets or installing water taps. They are specialists trained to work on fixtures and appliances connected to water systems. Plumbers not only install sinks, toilets, bathtubs, etc. but are also involved in inspecting these systems to ensure their efficiency.

A certified plumber thoroughly knows the local and state building codes. They have to deal with the repair, maintenance, replacement, and installation of water systems. Examples of plumbing jobs include repairing leaky water pipelines, replacing taps, and unclogging clogged drains.

HVAC Technicians, on the other hand, deal with the heating or cooling system within a home or business. HVAC systems control the heating and cooling temperatures in buildings where they are installed. HVAC experts install new air conditioning and heating systems and perform any repairs or maintenance as required.  

This blog will thoroughly discuss the different aspects of both HVAC technicians and plumbers. 

Which Trade Is Better? HVAC OR Plumbing?

Plumber OR HVAC Technician! This question often arises, but truly speaking, plumbing and HVAC are both fields that are not easy. Both fields require specialized knowledge and skills. Some people have overlapping skills that apply to both fields. But most are specialized in only one field and have traits that are suited to that field only.

Plumbing demands a strong command of mathematics. If you don’t have an interest in math, plumbing is not for you. Apart from math, outstanding troubleshooting, quick solutions, and critical thinking skills are needed to work in the field.

The HVAC field is also very technical and is more difficult for some people. Math is not that important in it, as having basic math skills is good to have, but compared to plumbing, they aren’t as important.

Remaining attentive to detail and communicating are two crucial skills for HVAC technicians. These skills are needed to become a competent HVAC technician.

HVAC work is often cleaner than plumbing work, as plumbers sometimes have to clear clogged drains and other similar jobs too. There can be an occasional dirty job in HVAC work, but if it is for a short time, you won’t typically have to work in unsanitary conditions.

However, you spend a lot of time on outdoor HVAC units, so you may stay hot or cold depending on the weather. The schedule of HVAC technicians is more hectic than that of plumbers.

Both of the jobs are great, and deciding between the HVAC and plumbing fields can be challenging. But whether you choose to become a plumber or an HVAC technician, you have an opportunity to build an exciting career. Decide what your interests are, and then choose which career path is best for you.

Which One Has A Better Salary Package? HVAC OR Plumbing!!!

According to U.S. News, plumbers on average make $56,000 per year. Experience is the main factor here; the more experience you have, the more you will earn in plumbing jobs. The top 25% of plumbers make $75,000 annually, while plumbers who are in their first year of service earn about $42,000.

Both HVAC and plumbing have great salaries. HVAC technicians, however, more often get a significant bonus through overtime work, making the field slightly better-paying than plumbing.

What is the Salary Package of a Plumber?


The average hourly pay for HVAC technicians in the United States is $25.07, which on a yearly basis equates to $52,000 per year. These workers also earn an average of $6,000 in overtime pay, which takes the average to $58000 per year, making the average of HVAC technicians higher than that of plumbers.

It is safe to say that HVAC business owners’ salaries are higher than plumbers. However, their job timing is not fixed, and they have to be on call more often than plumbers, which affects their work-life balance. It is important to balance your need to earn with your desire for free time when deciding if the HVAC field is the right one for you or not.

What is the Salary Package of an HVAC Technicain?

Do HVAC Companies Do Plumbing?

It is proven that HVAC and plumbing systems are not interlinked, so hiring a company that specializes in both is a great move. If one of these systems is not working properly, there is a high chance the other may also not work as well. As an HVAC business, you also have to deal with legal constraints if you want to add plumbing to your business name. The rules are strict, and not all states allow businesses to run alongside each other.

Plumbing works with waste systems, which are much dirtier. Whereas HVAC is cleaner and less dangerous, some workers find it more pleasant because it is easier on the body. There are many pros to both types of work, and choosing one over the other somehow becomes a personal choice. 

Plumbing and HVAC companies have more customers than any other industry. Both have benefits, an HVAC System is enriched in electrical knowledge, and it’s attractive to potential suitors. The work of HVAC is cleaner and better for the body as you get older.

Plumbing is altogether a different game, experience makes a plumber perfect. He can get pickier as they gain more experience. Both trades have completely different training. A plumber’s license is harder to get as compared to an HVAC technician’s.

Having a company that offers both services is a luxury. If you’re looking for an HVAC company that also offers plumbing services, and is certified and licensed, this is the right choice for you.

Is HVAC OR Plumbing Easier To Learn?

Obtaining specified knowledge and expertise for both trades is mandatory before you choose any one of them. It also depends on state rules; most states demand complete training and then proper certification for it.

Is HVAC hard? Is another floating question, but it all depends on your interest and abilities. The HVAC field is a bit more technical than plumbing, as it has a steeper learning curve, but in general, the two trades are equal in terms of knowledge and training.

A training program that lasts anywhere from six months to two years must be completed in order to become an HVAC technician. You must have a complete understanding of the following terms before you can take the exam for your HVAC license:

  1. Cleaning and installing duct systems
  2. Analyzing electrical concepts
  3. Heating
  4. Welding
  5. Soldering
  6. Air conditioning

Instead of taking a training program, a plumber only has to complete an internship to become licensed. However, you may have difficulty finding plumbing internships in some states. You must find someone who is an expert in teaching the following concepts:

  1. Plumbing codes
  2. Waste and drain systems
  3. Testing and installing plumbing lines
  4. Steam, water, and air concepts

What Are The Licensing Requirements For HVAC And Plumbing?

The licensing of HVAC and plumbing contractors is common in many states. In these states, obtaining a license to operate a business independently in the industry requires passing an exam. To avoid the test, licensing, and renewal fees, you can choose to work under someone else’s license.

State licensing laws vary from one state to another, but generally, a plumber can become licensed after completing a training program or an internship for at least five years. Along with the licensing fee, there is also an exam fee. It is best to review the state’s specific requirements before applying to ensure that you adhere to all the rules. 

We will dissect the licensing requirements of both of these systems separately as follows:

Licensing Requirements For HVAC

To get an HVAC license, HVAC technicians must be aware of state laws and specific requirements. In general, the license requirements are similar for most states and may include:

  1. Providing evidence of training 
  2. A minimum period of time under supervision
  3. Evidence of workers’ Compensation and liability Insurance
  4. Submission record of the completed application to the state licensing board
  5. Paying the required fees
  6. Clearing competency exams

Licensing Requirements For Plumbing

If you want to start a professional Career In Plumbing, common requirements include:

  • Providing a record of completion of an accredited plumbing program
  • Make sure to have liability insurance
  • Having access to all necessary certificates (including a certificate of insurance) and paying the license fee
  • Proof of workers’ compensation
  • Get surety bonds
  • Undergoing a state-mandated Plumbing License Exam

Is HVAC Worth Getting Into?

The question that is often asked by people just starting their HVAC career is, Is HVAC a good trade? As an essential trade, HVAC has great earning potential and offers a competitive wage. The earning potential grows along with your level of expertise in this field. Many HVAC professionals have a long-term goal of starting their own contracting company, which offers greater financial benefits.

Careers in this field are not only easy to begin, but they are also very secure. The demand for HVAC technicians is growing day by day, as people always need heating, cooling, and ventilation in their homes or commercial buildings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics rightly predicts that jobs in this sector will grow by 4% by 2029. 

Your ability to solve problems instantly is crucial to your success in the HVAC industry. The solutions to HVAC problems are frequently paired with technical knowledge because they are not always simple. If you enjoy solving technical tasks, this career path is an excellent choice. Conversely, if your interest is in literature and you want to enter HVAC just for financial reasons, this might not work for you in the long run.

HVAC VS Plumbing Pros And Cons

Both HVAC and Plumbing have their pros and cons. If you want to pursue either of them as a professional career, you need to know their benefits and limitations. We will discuss a bit of both.

Plumbing Pros And Cons

As a plumber, you can expect a steady schedule of work throughout the year. You may have to go on-call as often as once a month, but you can usually expect a great work-life balance and a decent salary. The work is steady, so you will always have some work to do.

The question that beginners often ask is, Are plumbers in demand? The answer is yes; they definitely are!

The BLS rightly anticipates a 14% increase in demand for plumbers between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average for all career fields. 

The work, however, can be unsanitary at times, for example, you have to clean clogged washroom pipelines. If you do not want to get dirty, this may not be the best industry for you.

It is not always a dirty job, and you may only need to replace a leaked tap or adjust the water pressure. 

HVAC Pros And Cons

The HVAC industry pays more with overtime, but you will need to be available more throughout the year. You will have to continuously work when the weather is extremely cold or hot, so while the pay is good, the working hours are not fixed. This irregularity in work life may not be ideal for you. 

HVAC work is frequently more clean than plumbing work. While you may sometimes have a dirty job, you will rarely have to work in unsanitary conditions.

However, you may have to spend a lot of time outdoors in extreme weather conditions. HVAC technicians have a less reliable schedule than plumbers.


The classic debate between HVAC and plumbing goes on and on. To be honest, both have their advantages, and it all comes down to your personal interests and skills.

HVAC technicians work with heating and cooling systems. It is a cool job, especially if you like working with complex systems and solving temperature-related puzzles. But remember, you might have to perform the troubleshooting on an urgent basis, as damaged AC systems of customers often demand urgency to re-operate. 

Plumbers, on the other hand, have to deal with waste systems and infrastructure codes. It’s a job that’s always in demand, as a Plumbing Emergency happens more often than an HVAC Emergency. 

In concluding remarks, it is safe to say that both trades offer good pay and job security. Is it HVAC or plumbing, that suits you? Frankly speaking, It’s up to you which profession you want to carry on with, depending on your interests. Whatever you do, do it with perfection! 

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