Putting up a shelf, changing a lock or finding the perfect piece of furniture are all likely to get you a nod of approval from friends and family, but the ability to fix a leak is the one that really draws the admiration.
According to a study of 2,000 adults, the household skills that are perceived as most useful and impressive involve plumbing. The researchers, working on behalf of property maintenance specialists Aspect, asked participants to rank a range of skills, from the simple to the complex, in order to determine which ones attracted the most admiration.
Fixing a leak was ranked as the most impressive and installing a washing machine was ranked as the fourth most impressive, behind assembling furniture and correctly putting up a shelf. According to the research, being able to fix a leak is twice as impressive as the ability to install a smart home device such as a smart bulb or mount a TV on the wall.
The study conclusions have precedent too. In June 2019, Hollywood star George Clooney made the news when he called an emergency plumber to his luxurious home in Lake Como, Italy. Clooney was expecting some rather high profile guests and apparently freaked out when he realized his swimming pool was cold and the water was low.
The actor asked a staff member to find a good local plumber. Dante Pennè, the plumber who answered the call, wasn’t aware of who Clooney’s special guests were, and was surprised at the sense of urgency he experienced when arrived. He told the local press in Italy: “I arrive and they are all upset.” Pennè claims he told Clooney’s team “Let me work, otherwise I won’t be able to fix it.” It wasn’t until he’d solved Clooney’s pool emergency that Pennè found out who the guests were, Barack and Michelle Obama and their children.
The 58-year-old Clooney was said to be especially relieved and gratefully posed for a few selfies with the hero plumber. And again, perhaps Clooney is a prime example of what the Aspect study found.
Over-55s are most likely to have positive perceptions of plumbing skills. Of the over-55s polled in the study, almost half (46%) gave fixing a leak the top score for impressiveness.
Nick Bizley, Aspect’s director of operations, believes we have such admiration for those who can solve plumbing problems because of the urgent nature of such situations.
“We know from firsthand experience how relieved people are to see a qualified and experienced tradesperson at their door, especially during an emergency situation such as a leak. The same sentiment seems to apply when asking people about the skills they admire around the house. It’s easy to be impressed by a skilled handyman who can put together flat-pack furniture or put up a shelf, but when it comes to emergency tasks, the stakes are that little bit higher.
“While we’d always advise people to call on a professional when they have an emergency problem at home, it’s handy to know some basics, such as how to shut off a water supply via the mains to stem a water leak. This can often be the difference between a maintenance problem and a maintenance emergency.”
Interiors: Roomscapes Cabinetry and Design Center
Photography: Derrick Zellmann.
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