PLUMBING TERMS

 
A

"A" Valve             A gas shut-off valve.

ABS                            (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene). Rigid black plastic pipe used for drain, waste, and vent
                                    lines.

Acidity                        The level of concentration of acid in water. Acid will neutralize an alkali or base. It is usually
                                    expressed in terms of its calcium carbonate equivalent.

Alkalinity                    The measurement of constituents in a water supply which determine alkaline conditions.
                                     The alkalinity of water is a measure of its capacity to neutralize acids.

Aspiration                   The result of mixing air with discharging water for the purpose of enhancing the hydro-
                                      massage effect of the whirlpool.

B

BTU                       British Thermal Unit. A unit of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of
                              water 1 degree Fahrenheit. 

Back Flow                   The condition of water traveling from one system back into any part of the main distribution
                                      system.

Back Wash                 The process of cleaning a filter by reversing the flow of water through it.

Back Up                       Due to drain stoppage, the overflow of a plumbing fixture caused by a clogged drain or
                                       pipe.

Ball Valve                     A valve that uses a ball to seal up against the seat.

Base                              A substance when dissolved in water it releases hydroxyl ions.  It reacts with an acid to
                                       form salt and water.

Basin                             A vessel with curved walls used to hold water for washing.

Bleeding                       The process of draining a pipe of excess air by opening a valve.

Boiler                             A Tank where water is turned to steam for use of heating.

Boiling Point (BP)       The temperature of which water turns to vapor when heat is applied.

Burner                           A heat producing device where a flame is used to provide heat or plumbing heating.

C

CPVC                             Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride. A rigid plastic pipe used for water supply under high
                                        temperature and pressure.

Calcium Carbonate    CACO3. Commonly known as scale a white precipitate that forms in hard water areas.

Check Valve                 A valve that permits water to flow only in one direction. Helps prevent back flows.

Cistern                           A rainwater storage tank that is usually found underground.

Closet                             A toilet    

 

Cock                               A valve or faucet for regulating the flow of water.

Commode                     A toilet.

Compression Valve    A valve commonly used for faucets, it opens or closes by lowering a horizontal disk by a
                                        threaded stem.

D

Dam                                A barrier built in the trap way of a toilet that controls the water level in the toilet bowl.

Dew Point                     The temperature of which water vapor condenses into a liquid.

Dope                               A pasty lubricant used on seal pipe threads before making threaded pipe connections.

Drain                               Any pipe that carries away waste-water for drainage.

E

EPA                                 Environmental Protection Agency.

Earthquake Strap        A metal strap used to secure a water heater to the foundation or frame of the house.

Element                          A heating unit in an electric water heater.

Expansion Valve          A valve that is thermostatically controlled for controlling liquid refrigerant.

F

FHT                                  Abbreviation for female hose thread.

Ferrule                            A metal cover for the lavatory overflow opening.

Filtrate                            Substance that has been passed through a filter.

Fitting                             Any piece of pipe used to join two pieces of pipe together common in pipe repair.

Flow Rate                      Usually measured in gallons per minute or gallons per hour.

Flue                                 A passageway for combustible by products.

Flush Ball                       A flapper.

Flux                                 A paste applied to copper pipes before soldering to help fusion and in preventing
                                        oxidation.

G

GPF                                 Gallons per flush. Current law Allows for a maximum of 1.6 gpf.

GPH                                Gallons per hour.  A measure of flow rate.

GPM                               Gallons per minute.  A measure of flow rate.

Galvanized                    A zinc coating applied to the finished product to prevent corrosion.

H

HVAC                             Abbreviation for heating, venting, and air-conditioning.

Hanger                          An object used to support pipes.

Hard Water                  Water containing impurities measured in part per million or PPM.

Hardness                     Commonly from calcium and magnesium itís the amount of dissolved minerals in
                                        the water. Measured in GPG or grains per gallon.

Hydronic                       A system of forced hot water.

Hydrojet                        An inlet tube used to reduce sediment build up in a water heater.

I

ID                                    Inside diameter.

Immersion                   Term of an object submerged in a liquid.

Inlet                               An entrance or opening for a liquid or gas.

Input                              The amount of fuel used in a water heater for a specified amout of time.  Usually an hour.

Input Rating                 The gas burning capacity for an appliance measured in BTU's.

J

J Bend                          A pipe in the shape of a J.

J Hook                          A pipe hanger in the shape of a J.

Jacket                          The outer casing of a water heater.

Joint                              A length of pipe.

K

KW                                Abbreviation for kilowatt.

Kilowatt                       One thousand watts.  Or 3412 BTU's per hour.

Knockout Plug           A PVC test plug.

L

LAV                               Lavatory.

LAV Tube                     A water supply tube for a lavatory.

Lavatory                       Bathroom sink.

Leach Lines                Pipes that carry material from the septic system into the leach field.

Leader                          Pipe carrying rainwater to the sewer or to the ground.

Lime                              Type of sediment.

M

MHT                              Male hose threads (threads on the outside of a pipe).

Main                             The primary water supply or drain system.

Male Threads            Threads on the outside of a pipe.

Mixing Valve               Valve that mixes hot and cold water to achieve a desired delivery temperature.

Monobloc Faucet       A single handle faucet.

N

Natural Gas                 A gas containing mostly methane (ch4). Odorless, however odors are added in order to
                                       detect leaks and do a leak repair.

Nipple                           A short length of pipe installed between fittings and couplings.

Nipple Extractor        A tool used to remove pieces of pipe for plumbing repair.

O

O-Ring                          A rubber washer used to make a seal usually around valve stems.

Outlet                           The opening of which water runs out of.

Outlet Sewer              Section in the septic system which runs between the drainage field and the septic tank.

Overflow Hood           The decorative hood covering the overflow on a bath drain.

P                                

P Trap                          A curved section of pipe that prevents sewer odors from escaping to the atmosphere.

P&T Relief Valve       Pressure and temperature relief valve.

PH                                 Potential Hydration.  Measured on a scale of 0-14 where 7 is neutral and below denotes
                                      acidity and above 7 denotes alkalinity.

PSI                                Pounds per square inch.

PVC                               Polyvinyl Chloride.  A plastic pipe used in non-pressure systems usually white in color.

Petcock                       A small faucet for draining liquid or releasing air pressure.

Pilot                               A small burner use to light the main burner.

Pipe Dope                    A pipe joint compound used to create a water tight seal.

Pitch                             The downward slope of a drain.

Plumberís Putty         Pliable putty used to seal joints between fixture surfaces and drain pieces.

Plunger                         A suction cup type tool used to unclog drains.

R

Raw Water                  Water before it is sent to a treatment plant.

Recovery                     The water that can be heated in gallons in one hour or GPH.

Red Water                   Water that contains precipitated iron and or iron bacteria.

Reducer                       A fitting that connects different sizes of pipe together.

Relief Valve                 A valve used to relieve excess pressure and temperature.

Repair Clamp              A sleeve type clamp used to repair a split/broken pipe held together by bolts.

Reverse Osmosis      A water treatment method where water is forced through a semi permeable membrane
                                        which filters out impurities.

S

Scale                             Usually calcium, a thin layer on the bottom or interior of parts that prevent heat transfer.

Seamless Pipe            Pipe with no welds in it.

Sediment                      Also known as lime, a substance that usually settles on the bottom of a tank.

Self-Rimming               A style of sink with a finished and rolled edge.

Service Tee                  A T shape fitting with a male end and two female ends.

Sillcock                         Hose bib.

Siphon                           Where the use of gravity allows water flow through a tube or pipe.

Sleeve                           A pipe which is passed through a wall for the purpose of inserting another pipe to it.

Slip Joint                       A connection made with compression fittings.

Soft Water                    Water that has low magnesium or calcium content.

Spigot                            The plain end of a cast iron pipe.

Static Pressure           The pressure whereas no water is flowing through it.

Stem                               The part of the faucet where the handle is held on one end and the washer on the other.

Stillson Wrench           A pipe wrench.

Stop Valve                     The shut off valve under sinks and toilets.

Sweating                        Another term for soldering.

T

TBE                                  Threaded both ends.

Threads Only                Threads only.

Tank                                Reservoir for flush water.

Tankless Wtr. Htr.       Instantaneous water heater.

Tap Water                     Treated water provided by a water company.

Tee                                  T shaped fitting.

Teflon Tape                   A polymer used to wrap around threaded ends to seal a joint.

Tempering Valve         A hot/cold mixing valve.

Trap                                A curved section of drainage pipe that helps prevent the escape of sewer gases into the
                                        atmosphere.

U

ULF                                  Ultra low flush.  Commonly used for toilets using 1.6 gpf or less.

Uni-Flex                          A one piece stop and riser combination.

Union                              Used primarily with steel pipe, a 3 piece  fitting that joins two pieces of pipe, but allows
                                         them to be disconnected with out cutting the pipe.

V

Valve                              A device that regulates the flow of water or gas.

Valve Seat                    A non moving part of a valve where water flow is stopped when the movable part of valve
                                        comes in contact with the valve seat.

Viscosity                      The resistance of flows of fluids caused by friction between molecules, where the viscosity
                                        increases as the temperature decreases.

W

Waste Arm                  Drain extension pipe, usually connecting from sink drain to a wall.

Waste plug                  Drain plug for bath tub.

Water Closet               A Toilet.

Water Spot                  Once the flush is completed itís the water level left in bowl after flush.

Working Pressure     The maximum pressure permissible by the water system.

Y

Yoke                               A metal casting that hold both the hot and cold water valves and the mixing chamber for
                                        the water.

Z

Zero Soft                       Water with a total level of hardness or calcium carbonate less than 1.0 grains per gallon.

Zone of Saturation     The layer in the ground where all the available voids are filled with water.