Have you had a plumber or plumbing contractor try to explain to you what needs to be done and you were secretly saying to yourself…huh?? Or have you decided to do your own plumbing repairs or replacements and really need to know what the heck the terms mean, what parts are needed and what the parts are for so when you go to the store or www.faucetsuite.com you know what to get and why? We thought it would be helpful to put together this easy to access and print out online Glossary of Plumbing Terms.
Angle Stop: is a shut off valve between water pipes and a faucet. Its inlet connects to the water supply pipe in a wall and its outlet “angles” up 90 degrees toward the faucet, toilet or bidet.
BackFlow: When water traveling from one system backs into any part of the main distribution system, usually by siphoning.
BackFlow Preventer: A device to prevent backflow, especially into a potable water supply. This is generally required for handheld showers, pullout faucet spouts, kitchen sprayers, etc
BACK SIPHONAGE: The negative pressure that causes backflow
BUSHING: A pipe fitting threaded on the inside & out used to join two pipes of different sizes.
Check Stop: Shut-off valve used with tub/shower faucets that is activated by turning a slotted stem with a screwdriver. Also known as a “screwdriver stop” or a “service stop”.
Compression Fitting: A kind of tubing or pipe connection where a nut and a sleeve is placed over a copper or plastic tube and is compressed tightly around the tube as the nut is tightened forming a positive grip and seal with out soldering.
Coupling: a straight, sleeve-like fitting with female connections at both ends.
Diverter: Valve which directs water to various outlets. They are used in showers, tub & shower combination, bidets, roman and clawfoot tub fillers and kitchen faucet sprayers.
Elbow: Angled fitting with female connections at both ends. Also known as an “ell”.
Escutcheon: A flange or shield beneath a faucet handle. This part covers the faucet stem and the hole in the fixture or wall.
Female IPS: (Female Iron Pipe) Standard International threads on pipe fittings.
Fitting: A broad-based term usually referring to faucets, shower valves, and tub fillers. Also refers to various piping parts such as tees and elbows.
GMP: (Gallons Per Minute) The rate of water flow by which faucets and shower heads are measured and regulated.
GPF: (Gallons Per Flush) The rate of water flow by which toilets and flush valves are measured and regulated. Current law requires maximum of 1.6 GPF. Older styles were usually 3.5 GPF.
HP: Horse power.
ID: (Inside Diameter) All pipes are sized according to their inside diameter.
IPS: (Iron Pipe Size) Standard pipe threads. Female IPS is internal pipe threads, male IPS are external pipe threads. Also known as “NPT” or “NPS.
Male IPS: (MIP) (Male Iron Pipe) Standard external threads on pipe and fittings.
Mixing Valve: mixes hot and cold water to achieve a specified delivery temperature.
Nipple: A short length of pipe installed between couplings or other fittings.
OD: (Outside Diameter) The diameter of a pipe measured from the outside edge.
Offset: A tubular component which permits the offsetting of a drainage run in the same basic direction.
“P” Trap: Trap design which routes drainage horizontally back through the wall to connect with Drainage Waste Vent (DWV).
PSI: (Pounds Per Square Inch) A means of measurement used to determine pressure within contained area.
Pop up Drain : Remote control drain assembly. Also known as a “trip lever drain” for tubs.
POTABLE: Water which is safe to drink.
Pressure Balancing Valve: A shower mixing valve that automatically maintains balance between incoming hot and cold water supplies by immediately regulating fluctuations in pressure. As a result the outlet temperature remains constant, though the outlet pressure may drop. Also known as an “anti-scald valve”.
Riser: A vertical metal or plastic tube or assembly that connects a faucet to the water supply stop valve. Usually made of copper.
Rough-In: Installation of the drain, waste, vent, and supply lines in a structure to the proposed location of each fixture.
“S” Trap: Trap design which routes drainage vertically down through the floor to connect with the Drainage Waste Vent (DWV).
Slip Joint: A connection made with compression fittings.
Stop: The shutoff valve under sinks and toilets. Allows water supply to be cut off to one fixture without affecting the water supply to the entire house or building.
T & P Valve: (Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve) A safety device used to expel excess pressure or heat from inside a tank.
Tee: T-shaped fitting with three openings that allow another pipe to be joined at a 90 degree angle, used to create branch lines.
Thermostatic Valve: A shower mixing valve with automatic temperature control. When temperature fluctuations occur at the water inlets, a thermal actuator adjusts the hot and cold ratio to maintain the original temperature setting.
Trap: Curved section of drain line that prevents sewer odors from escaping into the atmosphere. All fixtures that have drains must have a “P” trap installed. A toilet is the only plumbing fixture with an “s” trap.
Trim Kit: Refers to the outside decorative covering of a faucet rough-in valve. Includes items such as the shower head, tub spout, handles, etc. The trim is the parts you can see when looking at a faucet.
Trip Lever: Flush handle and actuating arm on a toilet tank. Also the lever that opens and closes the drain on the bathtub waste and overflow.
Union: A three-piece fitting that joins two sections of pipe, but allows them to be disconnected without cutting the pipe.
Vacuum Breaker: An anti-siphon device that prevents the backflow of contaminated water into the water supply system in the event of a negative pressure condition.
Valve: A device that regulates the flow of water. Also the rough-in part of a faucet that is concealed in the wall or undercounter.
Waste and OverFlow: : The drain assembly for a bathtub. The outlet at the top removes the “overflow” water during tub filling and the drain at the bottom removes “waste” water when the tub is drained.
The next post will be on terms and information that will help you make decisions on choosing the kind of finish or material you want and the right type of plumbing fixture, sink or tub for your decor or application.
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