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Plumbing Terms

General

  • Aerator: insert screwed onto a faucet nozzle that reduces splashing by mixing air into the flowing water.
  • Bleed: to release excess air in a pipe by opening a valve at the end.
  • Brass: generic slang term for any faucet or fixture.
  • Faucet: a fixture for drawing or regulating the flow of liquid especially from a pipe
  • Fitting: term used to describe any part that connects two sections of pipe.
  • Flow Control Valve: device which can reduce costs and improve efficiency by reducing the water flow to a plumbing fixture.
  • Flow Rate: how much water flows through a plumbing system; measured in either gallons per minute (GPM) or per hour (GPH).
  • Gasket: flat rubber or fiber ring used to create a watertight seal between metal fixtures.
  • Non-Ferrous: contains no iron.
  • O-Ring: round rubber washer used to make valve stems watertight
  • Potable: water which is safe to consume.
  • Riser: vertical supply pipes which bring water from the branch to a fixture or to a higher floor.
  • Shutoff Valve: valve under toilet or sink to stop water supply for repairs.
  • Tee: T-shaped fitting used where three pipes intersect.
  • Trap: a curved portion of plumbing designed to hold enough water to block, or seal, the section of pipe from gasses, odors, and pests.

Piping:

  • Copper Pipes: is a tube-like material made from copper, a red-brown metal. It is used to convey water, gas, oil or other fluid from one location to another.
  • PVC:rigid white pipe made of polyvinyl-chloride plastic; often used for drains and waste or vent pipes.
  • CPVC:chlorinated polyvinyl-chloride; black PVC pipe treated to withstand high temperatures; often used in water supply systems.
  • Polybutylene(PB): bendable tubing used in some supply lines for bathroom fixtures.
  • Polyethylene (PE):flexible pipes often used in supply lines.
  • PEX:crossed-linked polyethylene; stronger than normal PE.
  • Plumber’s Putty:putty with dough-like consistency used to seal the joints between fixture settings and metal pieces.
  • Teflon Tape:fluorocarbon polymer tape with non-stick properties that is wrapped around the threads of a pipe to create a tighter joint seal.
  • (Water) pressure:enables water to flow along pipes. Water pressure is created by the weight of water trying to flow to a lower height

Drain related

  • Drain Trap: is designed to retain a small amount of water each time the sink drains, and this water standing in the bottom of the curved portion of the trap seals the drain and keeps sewer gasses from escaping the drain and entering your home
  • Drain Field: an open area, the soil of which absorbs the contents of a septic tank
  • Dry Well: a shaft or chamber constructed in the ground in order to aid drainage, sometimes containing pumping equipment.
  • Elbow:is a pipe fitting installed between two lengths of pipe or tubing to allow a change of direction,
  • Grease Trap:  is a plumbing device (a type of trap) designed to intercept most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater disposal system
  • P Trap: Immediately beneath a sink, bathtub, or other plumbing fixture, the fixture drain opening leads to a curved segment of pipe known as the P-trap, which is normally a 1 1/4 to 2-inch-diameter segment of pipe with a sharp curved bend in it, shaped like the letter “P.”

Toilet related

  • Absorption Field: seeping field designed to filter and disperse the liquid waste from a septic tank; also referred to as a leach field.
  • Effluent: liquid waste in a septic system.
  • Fill Valve: part found in the toilet tank that fills the tank with water after every flush
  • Floor Flange: (also called a closet flange) is a pipe fitting that secures a toilet unit to the drain pipe in the bathroom floor.
  • Flapper Toilet flappers are the leading cause of leaking or running toilets – they provide the seal for the flush valve and control the volume of water released to the bow. Flappers wear out more often if you use drop-in bleach tablets.
  • Gray Water: water waste from non-toilet fixtures.
  • Toilet Float: is a device that allows water to fill the tank without overflowing. You may have heard it referred to as the ballcock or float … Once it rises to a pre-set level, the mechanism forces the lever to slow the valve, and the water supply is shut down
  • Wax ring: provides a soft, pliable seal between some of the harder components of a toilet system. Toilets are typically made of porcelain. The wax ring fits around the exit hole in the bottom of the fixture and rests on the flange, which sits atop the drainpipe

Shower (Bathtub) Related

  • Shower Head: a fixture for directing the spray of water in a bathroom shower.
  • Waste Tee: used on the waste-side of a plumbing system to keep effluent flowing in the proper direction.
  • Overflow pipe: a pipe which discharges excess or leaking water safely.

Water Heater Related

  • Water Heater: a household appliance consisting of a gas or electric heating unit under a tank in which water is heated and stored.
  • Tankless water heaters heat your supplied water as needed without storing heated water in a tank.
  • Gas Control Thermostat: Controls the water temperature and flow of fuel gas to the burner.
  • Electric thermostat: A thermostat is a mechanical device that controls the flow of electrical current to various parts of the water heater. A water heater may contain one or two thermostats, called upper and lower thermostats. You are able to adjust the desired temperature of water.  Caveat: Most manufacturers recommend 125 degrees F.
  • Heating Elements: like the elements on a stove, water heaters have internal elements that heat water upon contact. Thermostats control the heating of the element
  • Vent hood: sort of like a chimney on your gas water heater that exhausts the results from gas combustions
  • (Black) Pipe gas Line: black-steel pipes used to supply gas appliances
  • Sacrificial Anode Rod: The sacrificial anode is an essential component of your water heater. It’s a long metal rod, made of magnesium or aluminum, which extends through the tank’s interior. It attracts particles of iron, limestone or other minerals present in the water through an electrochemical process and corrodes in place of the tank.
  • Sediment: debris that settles at the bottom of water tanks
  • Temperature Pressure Relief Valve: allows the release of water when pressure or excess heat build. Usually connected to a downward vertical pipe that guides release water to a floor drain.
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