Glossary of Plumbing Terminology
There are many words and acronyms used in the plumbing industry that plumbers use throughout conversations. It’s easier to make an informed decision when you know the common terms.
A material that is used to absorb liquids, gases or solids; or suspend solids on its surface or inside pores.
A fitting used to join mixed piping i.e. sweat copper to threaded fittings, PVC to cast iron.
A method to introduce oxygen into the water to help in removing dissolved gasses like carbon dioxide and oxidizing metals, such as iron that contribute to foul odors or unpleasant taste.
a type of fitting installed on a plumbing fixture that mixes water with air. These fittings help with water conservation and reduce splashing
Angle Stop or Angle Valve
used as shut off valves at the water intake of plumbing fixtures or appliances, angle stopsget their name from being manufactured at a 90 degree angle.
An unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction. The circumstance of water traveling from one system back into any part of the main distribution system, usually by siphoning.
The overflow of water usually combined with waste from a plumbing fixture caused by a blockage in the fixture drain or the waste line servicing the plumbing fixture.
A drain that discharges water into a waste drain system or into the ground through a channel. Sump pump drains are one example of a discharge drain.
The opening to a piping system that is used to remove wastewater from a fixture or system and transport it elsewhere for treatment or reuse. Most drains are open, but floor drains may have a protective grate over them.
A sink fixture that controls water flow. Most sink faucets have a mixing valve that allows the user to modify the temperature of the water by changing the ratio of hot to cold. Faucets may come with either two handles, one for hot and one for cold, or with a single lever handle that changes the mix ratio.
The hinged, movable part of a type of shut off valve that prevents or shuts off flow. A common type of flapper is found at the bottom of a toilet water tank. It is raised to start the flush cycle and closes when the tank is empty, allowing it to refill.
A float valve controls the water in a toilet tank. It is a type of control valve that shuts off water at a predetermined level or capacity. One form of operation has a hollow ball, mounted by a connecting rod to the valve. As the ball rises with the water level, the valve closes until water flow is completely stopped.
Galvanized steel (piping)
A type of steel water piping, coated with a zinc compound. The zinc acts as a sacrificial metal, slowing down the corrosion process.
Relatively clean waste water that comes from all fixtures except toilets. Gray water does not contain fecal contamination.
The water pressure exerted by gravity (2.31 feet of height means/delivers one pound of head). Also, slang for toilet.
Using special equipment to blast high-pressure water in order to clean out build-up or blockages from clogged or slow sewage lines.
The primary line that that all other supply lines in the home branch out from. It supplies water from your water company’s meter at the street up to the point where it enters the home.
Generally a more stylish toilet, the toilet tank and bowl are not separate, but make one single fixture. They are less common and usually more expensive.
A clay-like material used to seal fixture bases, joints, and other areas that may be exposed to unpressurized water.
Power Flush System
Typically found in business or commercial settings, this type of power assisted flushing system compresses water to provide a pressurized flush as opposed to a gravity flush.
Refers to the length of a pipe from the fixture to the drain
An underground holding tank for an onsite small scale sewage treatment system that serves a home that does not have a connection to the local city or county sewage pipes. The term “septic” refers to the anaerobic bacteria that live in the tank and decompose the waste discharged into the tank.
Valve used to shut offer the water supply for a sink or toilet (usually found underneath). May also be called supply stop or straight stop.