- ABS: A black plastic pipe used for drains and vents; usually found in older homes or mobile homes.
- Aerator: A screen-like insert screwed onto a faucet outlet that mixes with the flowing water to reduce splashing.
- Backup: Overflow of a plumbing fixture due to stopped up drain.
- Ballcock: A valve in a toilet tank that controls refilling the tank. After flushing, the toilet refills until the float, connected via a metal arm, rises high enough to shut off the valve.
- Bidet: A plumbing fixture, similar to a toilet bowl in appearance, used for personal hygiene. Floor mounted, usually next to a toilet, it consists of a washing basin, faucet & sprayer.
- Blackwater: Waste water from a toilet.
- Boiler: A sealed tank where water is turned to steam for heating or power.
- Bonnet: The top portion of a compression valve assembly that holds the valve in place as it is tightened against the valve seat at the other end of the assembly.
- Branch Drain: A plumbing fixture drain that leads to the main drain line.
- Bushing: A fitting that’s threaded inside and outside that joins pipes of different sizes.
- CPVC: (Stands for-chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) A pipe, yellowish in color, that can handle high temperatures. Mostly used in water supply systems.
- Cleanout Plug: A plug in a trap or drain pipe that provides access for the purpose of cleaning an obstruction.
- Closet Auger: A bendable rod with curved end used by plumbers to remove clogs from a toilet’s trap.
- Closet Flange: A ring that anchors the toilet to the floor and connects it to the closet bend. Also known as a Floor flange.
- Compression Fitting: A kind of tubing or pipe connection where a nut & a sleeve, or ferrule, is placed over a copper or plastic tube and compressed tightly around the tube as the nut is tightened forming a positive grip and seal without soldering.
- Coupling: A short fitting used to join two pieces of pipe.
- Diverter: A faucet valve that redirects water from the tub faucet to the shower head.
- Dope: A lubricant used by plumbers on pipe threads.
- Drain-Waste-Vent System: A pipe system that drains wastewater from the bathroom and vents the drain system.
- Escutcheon: A decorative metal flange or plate that covers and hides the supply line hole in the fixture or wall.
- Fernco Coupling: A rubber fitting that uses steel band clamps to attach to the pipe ends. Mostly used to join sections of DWV pipe, but also connects PVC to clay or cast iron pipe.
- Fitting: Any part that joins together two sections of pipe. Examples: elbows, couplings, bends wyes, etc.
- Fixture: Anything that accepts or discharges water or water water; for example: faucets, sinks, toilets, tubs.
- Flapper: A rubber flap located in the bottom of the toilet that lifts to allow flushing and seals off the tank for refilling, allowing water to flow from the tank into the bowl.
- Flow Rate: Measurement of water flow through a plumbing system in gallons per minutes (GPM) or gallons per hour (GPH).
- Gray Water: Waste water from fixtures other than toilets; examples: laundry, sinks.
- Hard Water: Natural water containing impurities in various portions. Traditional hardness is a measure of calcium, minerals or dissolved solids in a solution, measured in parts per million. Hard water generally ranges from 100 to 250 ppm.
- Hose Bibb: An outdoor faucet, also used to supply washing machines.
- L Tubing: An industry standard for copper tubing defined by the tube wall thickness and identified by a “blue” strip. Type “L” copper tube is approximately 50% greater thickness than type “M”.
- Low Consumption Toilet: A class of toilet designed to flush using 1.6 gallons of water or less. Also known as “water-saving” toilets.
- Main: The primary artery of the supply or drain system to which all the branches connect. It is referred to as the Main Vent in the vent system
- Manifold: A fitting that connects a number of branches to the main; serves as a distribution point.
- No-Hub Connector: A connector for no-hub iron pipe consisting of a rubber sleeve and a stainless steel band secured by hose clamps.
- Overflow Tube: A vertical tube inside a toilet tank directing water into the bowl in case the ballcock malfunctions potentially causing a tank overflow. A constant running condition alerts the user to an overflow problem.
- O-Ring: A rubber washer that is round instead of flat and used in valve stems to create a watertight seal.
- PB: Stands for polybutylene. It is a bendable plastic tubing most often used to supply water to bathroom fixtures.
- PE: Stands for polyethylene. It is a flexible plastic supply line.
- PEX: Stands for cross-linked polyethylene. It is a flexible plastic pipe supply line that is stronger than PE and is used in bathrooms for water supply lines.
- Plumber’s Putty: A dough-like putty that seals joints between fixture surfaces and metal pieces, such as the drain.
- Plunger: A rubber suction cup attached to a wooden dowel handle used to free drain clogs. (Plumbers helper).
- Pop-Off Valve: Partial venting or draining, under pressure, the water side of a boiler or water heater. Relieves excess temperature and /or pressure in the system. (Pressure Relief Valve or T&P Valve).
- Pop-Up Drain: Remote control drain assembly also known as “trip lever drains” for tubs.
- Potable: Water that is suitable for consumption.
- Pressure Balance Valve: A shower valve that monitors fluctuations in pressure to maintain a balance between hot and cold water so the temperature remains constant.
- PVC: Stands for polyvinyl-chloride. A rigid white plastic pipe used for bathroom drains, water and vent pipes.
- Riser: A supply line pipe that rises from one story to the next.
- Scale: A thin coating or layer, usually calcium, on the bottom of a tank.
- Sediment: The substance that settles on the bottom of a water tank; also known as lime.
- Septic Tank: A tank used to detain domestic wastes to allow the settling of solids prior to distribution. Septic tanks are used when a sewer line is not available.
- Shutoff Valve: Valves installed under sinks and toilets used to shut off the water supply in the event of a malfunction or repair.
- Tailpiece: The section of pipe that runs between a fixture outlet and the trap.
- Tee: A plumbing fitting shaped like the letter “T”. It is used to connect three sections of pipe.
- Teflon Tape: White tape made of fluorocarbon polymer, having non-stick properties, used to wrap around pipe threads to create a tight seal.
- Trap: A curved section of drain that traps a small portion of water to prevent sewer gas from escaping into the bathroom. “P” traps and “S” traps are the most common types of traps found in bathrooms.
- Trap Seal: The water in a trap or toilet that prevents sewer gases from escaping back through the drain.
- Valve: A device that regulates the flow of water.
- Vent: A vertical or sloping portion of drain pipe that allows sewer gases to escape from the house into the outdoor air. They also let air into the drain system to keep air pressure balanced and prevent water in traps from being siphoned off.
- Water Hammer Arrestor: A device installed near a fixture to absorb the hydraulic shock that happens when fixture’s supply is suddenly shut off causing a water hammer, a loud banging noise in the pipes.
- Wet Vent: A pipe that both drains wastewater and vents air into the drains; usually connecting two or more fixtures.
- Wax Ring: A seal located between the floor flange and the toilet to prevent leakage and fumes.
Plumbing Service Glossary
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