Plumbing Fundamentals

Learn plumbing skills and techniques.

Course Code: BSS105
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Get started!

Learn the Fundamentals of Plumbing

  • Tools, Equipment and Materials
  • Techniques including ways to work with pipes to install, maintain and repair plumbing installations
  • Applications for plumbing and gas fitting in residential, commercial, and industrial contexts.

Who is this Course For?

  • Anyone starting out ( Alone this course doesn't make you a plumber, but it may make you attractive to be employed somewhere in the plumbing industry e.g. as a plumbers assistant, in a plumbing supplies business or elsewhere.)
  • Home owners or home renovators
  • People working in related industries (eg. construction, architecture, property management, irrigation, landscaping, gas supply, etc) who are seeking to supplement their knowledge for their own professional development, or perhaps staff training.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Plumbing - Materials & Techniques
    • Use of Pipes
    • Transporting Gases
    • Transporting Liquids
    • Scope and Nature of Plumbing Work
    • Pipe Materials
    • Ferrous Metal Pipes
    • Carbon steel
    • Stainless steel
    • Cast iron
    • Non-ferrous Metal Pipes
    • Copper
    • Brass
    • Nickel
    • Aluminium
    • Plastic Pipes
    • PVCs
    • CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) Pipe
    • PVC-U (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride) Pipe
    • HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) Pipe
    • PP (Polypropylene) Pipe
    • PE (Polyethylene) Pipe
    • PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene) Pipe
    • PE-RT (Polyethylene of Raised Temperature Resistance) Pipe
    • Other Pipes
    • Cement/concrete
    • Fibreglass
    • Glass
    • Wood
    • Pipe Dimensions
    • Terminology
  2. Plumbing Tools & Equipment
    • General Hand Tools
    • Accessory Plumbing Tools & Equipment
    • Power Tools & Machines
    • Safety Guidelines for Using Power Tools
  3. Working with Piping Materials
    • Selection of Pipe Materials
    • Flow Rate
    • Type of Fluid
    • Temperature of Fluid
    • Pressure of the Fluid
    • Properties of the Material
    • Location of Pipework
    • Other Influencing Factors
    • Availability
    • Cost
    • Ease of Installation
    • Working with Ferrous Pipes
    • Cutting Ferrous Metal Pipes
    • Working with Non-Ferrous Metal Pipes
    • Cutting Non-Ferrous Metal Pipes
    • Copper pipe cutter/pipe slice (auto cut tool)
    • Joining Non-Ferrous Metal Pipes
    • Working with Plastic Pipe
    • Working with Other Types of Pipes
    • Safety Issues
  4. Mains Gas & Water Supply and Sewage Removal
    • Residential Mains Systems
    • Residential Mains Gas Supply
    • Residential Water Supply
    • Sources and Treatment Processes
    • Hot water systems
    • Water metering and pressure management
    • Sewage removal
    • Systems and Maintenance
    • Water Safety Guidelines
  5. Common Plumbing Tasks
    • Introduction to Routine Tasks
    • Regulations
    • Routine Maintenance of Water Systems
    • Plumbing Repairs
    • DIY Aspects of Fixing Leaks
    • Guttering and Downpipes
  6. Rainwater tank collection, bottled gas, sewerage tanks/grey water
    • Introduction
    • Repairing & replacing damaged fittings
    • Filtration systems
    • Residential rainwater collection
    • Bottled Gas Systems
    • Sewerage Tanks
    • Greywater Tanks
  7. Plumbing for Outdoors – Gardens, Pools, Irrigation
    • Overview of Installation, Pipework and Runoff
    • Swimming pool installation
    • Types of Swimming Pool and their Features
    • Construction Process and Key Considerations
    • Regulations and Permits
    • Pipework for Swimming Pools
    • Runoff Zones and Drainage
    • Managing Storm water and Excess Pool Water
    • Safety and Compliance
    • Irrigation
  8. Air conditioning & Heating units and systems
    • Overview Buildings and Greenhouses
    • Cooling and Refrigeration Systems
    • Refrigeration Components in Vapour Compression Systems
    • Compressors
    • Condensers
    • Evaporators
    • Interconnecting Pipework: Suction, Discharge, Liquid Drain and Liquid Lines
  9. Applications for Plumbing in Industrial and Commercial Contexts
    • Water Supply System in Industrial Settings
    • Sources, Purification, Distribution, Conservation, Monitoring
    • Wastewater Management
    • Plumbing Systems in Commercial Buildings
    • Specialised Commercial & Industrial Systems
    • Fire Protection
    • Hospitals and Healthcare Settings
    • Plumbing Maintenance & Regulations
    • Machinery Applications
    • Gas and Liquid Management in Cars an Engines
    • Cooling, Fuel Supply & Lubrication Systems
    • Hydraulic Systems
    • Sealants
  10. Sustainability and innovation for Plumbing
    • Awareness of Products and Techniques
    • Innovative Thinking
    • Geothermal Heating Systems
    • Solar Heating Systems
    • Greywater Heat Recovery Systems
    • Systems of Conservation
    • Off-Grid Systems
    • Resources Conversation

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the scope and nature of plumbing and gas fitting work, including materials and techniques used.
  • Describe plumbing tools.
  • Describe common plumbing systems used for supply and removal of gas, water, and sewage.
  • Describe the routine work tasks which a plumbers and gasfitters undertake.
  • Describe the work of plumbers and gasfitters in collecting, holding, and treating liquids and gases including water and sewage.
  • Describe the work of plumbers and related occupations in the installation, operation and maintenance of pools, irrigation systems and spas.
  • Explain plumbing work involved in the installation and maintenance of heating and cooling systems for environmental control in residential properties, factories, commercial, industrial and agricultural situations.
  • Explain industrial and commercial applications for plumbing and gas fitting
  • Discuss different innovative and sustainable solutions used with use/operation/management of gasses and liquids.


Plumbing work can involve any of installation, maintenance, or repair. Maintenance of plumbing is important to prevent problems from occurring. On a small scale, work can be relatively simple and straight forward, such as replacing a washer in a leaky tap. On large scale and with big industrial systems it can be complex and may often need to be at scheduled times when it causes the least inconvenience e.g., after work hours. Repairs may be identified during routine maintenance or during emergencies. If repairs are needed, parts of systems may need to be temporarily shut down or disconnected.  

Plumbers and other people who install and use plumbing fittings have a responsibility to ensure that any installation and the fittings and materials used comply with current regulations within the jurisdiction they operate. Many plumbing jobs can be undertaken by knowledgeable people even if they are not registered plumbers; but some tasks are regulated, more so in some countries; and require a licensed tradesman. 

Routine maintenance for example, on cold water systems may involve the following amongst other things:

  • Checking for leaks.
  • Changing washers and reseating taps and fittings.
  • Changing washers in float operated valves and drain valves.
  • Checking the correct operation of stop valves.
  • Checking flow rates at outlets.
  • Cleaning filters – to remove scale and sediment.
  • Cleaning cisterns and adjusting water levels.
Instances that require people with specialist knowledge, training, and certification may include making alterations or repairs to certified plumbing systems e.g., particularly gas systems, water systems in buildings that are non-residential.  
Health and safety procedures need to be recognised and always followed as plumbing work can involve dangerous materials and equipment. With proper procedures though, the work is safe. It should be noted that any water system, hot or cold, and may contain disease organisms such as the bacterium Legionella pneumophila. Legionella develops mainly in stagnant water or water that has been left standing for a long period e.g., disused branches of water piping systems. The bacteria cause legionnaires disease. It can be fatal if ingested by breathing in water droplets. Care must be exercised when dealing with such systems.   Decisions about what to do with any jobs needs to be made in full knowledge of the system materials and equipment you are working with.

While it may be preferable to use an experienced and certified  tradesman; it is often neither practical or cost effective to do so, Many tradesmen employ semi skilled people to assist them. Many people who own or manage properties need to attend to plumbing emergencies or even routine maintenance when it isn't cost effective or timely to use a plumber. These and other reasons make knowledge of plumbing a valuable commodity in a wide range of circumstances.

If you can see value for yourself in having more knowledge and skills in plumbing; this could be a very useful course for you.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.