Common Plumbing Terms and Definitions

Common Plumbing Terms and Definitions: A Handy Guide for Homeowners

Understanding common plumbing terms and definitions can empower homeowners when communicating with plumbers or tackling plumbing projects. From fixtures to pipe materials, having a grasp of these terms can help demystify plumbing jargon. In this article, we’ll provide you with a concise guide to common plumbing terms and their definitions. Let’s dive in and enhance your plumbing vocabulary!

1. Faucet:
A device used to control the flow of water from a pipe. Faucets are commonly found in sinks, bathtubs, and showers.

2. Pipe:
A cylindrical tube used for conveying water, gas, or other fluids. Pipes can be made from various materials such as copper, PVC, PEX, or galvanized steel.

3. Drain:
A pipe or conduit that carries wastewater and sewage away from plumbing fixtures.

4. Trap:
A curved section of pipe located beneath plumbing fixtures, such as sinks and toilets.
Traps hold a small amount of water to create a barrier that prevents foul odors and gases from entering the building.

5. Shut-off Valve:
A valve used to control or stop the flow of water within a plumbing system.
Shut-off valves are typically located near fixtures or along the main water supply line.

6. Pressure Relief Valve:
A safety device that automatically releases excess pressure from a water heater or plumbing system to prevent damage or explosions.

7. Flapper:
A rubber or silicone valve in the toilet tank that opens to allow water to flow into the toilet bowl during flushing.
The flapper then closes to stop the water flow.

8. Trap Arm:
A horizontal pipe connected to the drain pipe of a fixture, allowing wastewater to flow into the main drain line.

9. Vent Stack:
A vertical pipe that provides ventilation to the plumbing system.
Vent stacks allow air to enter the plumbing system, preventing the creation of a vacuum and promoting proper drainage.

10. Backflow:
The unwanted reversal of water flow in a plumbing system, which can contaminate the water supply.
Backflow prevention devices are installed to protect against this.

11. Teflon Tape:
A thin, white, non-sticky tape used to create a watertight seal between pipe threads.
Teflon tape is wrapped around the threaded ends of pipes to prevent leaks.

12. Water Hammer:
A loud banging or knocking sound that occurs when water flow is suddenly stopped or changes direction.
Water hammer can cause damage to plumbing pipes and fittings.

By familiarizing yourself with common plumbing terms and definitions, you can navigate plumbing discussions with confidence and better understand the various components of your plumbing system. This concise guide has introduced you to key terms such as faucets, pipes, traps, and valves, providing you with a foundation for further plumbing knowledge. Whether you’re communicating with a plumber or embarking on a DIY project, these terms will prove invaluable in your plumbing endeavors.