Glossary of Plumbing Terminology
Apprentice plumber: An entry-level plumber, learning the trade. State requirements may include a high school diploma or GED, an aptitude test and that the applicant is 18 year of age or older. Apprentices may work with a journeyman, under the supervision of a master plumber.
Auger: A flexible metal rod, usually made of spring material, with a cutting or clearing device on one end. It is used to clear clogs in drains for plumbing. Closet augers, also called toilet auger, have a tubular guide to permit entry through the toilet trap design. Larger, longer augers are used to clean underground drain lines and may be motor driven.
Copper piping: Water line made of copper or a copper alloy. Copper pipe is usually rigid; tubing is flexible. Copper will not rust and has a long life cycle, but it can corrode, especially at solder joints, which could cause leakage. It is primarily used for potable (drinkable) water and plumbing systems.
CPVC: Chlorinated poly-vinyl chloride pipe, a type of plastic. CPVC can be used in both hot and cold potable water piping.
Discharge drain: A drain that discharges water into a drain system or into the ground through a channel. French drains are one example of a discharge drain.
Drain: The opening to a plumbing system that is used to remove wastewater from a fixture or system and transport it elsewhere for treatment or reuse. Most drains are open, but floor drains may have a protective grate over them.
Energy Star: An international standard for energy efficiency that originated in the United States. Electrical appliance must conform to certain standards in order to qualify. Dishwashers and washing machines are two of the appliances that can be Energy Star Rated.
Faucet screen: A small metal screen used to catch small debris in the water system, found in the faucet arm nozzle. Water hoses for washing machines may also have a screen to prevent debris from damaging the water valves.
Faucet: A sink fixture that controls water flow. Most sink faucets have a mixing valve that allows the user to modify the temperature of the water by changing the ratio of hot to cold. Faucets may come with either two handles, one for hot and one for cold, or with a single lever handle that changes the mix ratio.
Flapper: The hinged, movable part of a type of shut off valve that prevents or shuts off flow. A common type of flapper is found at the bottom of a toilet water tank. It is raised to start the flush cycle and closes when the tank is empty, allowing it to refill.
Float valve: A type of control valve that shuts off water at a predetermined level or capacity. A float valve controls the water in a toilet tank. One form of operation has a hollow ball, mounted by a connecting rod to the valve. As the ball rises with the water level, the valve closes until water flow is completely stopped.
Galvanized steel (piping): A type of steel water piping used in plumbing, coated with a zinc compound. The zinc acts as a sacrificial metal, slowing down the corrosion process.
Garbage disposal: An appliance attached to the drain system, usually under the kitchen sink, that chops up food waste, allowing easier flow through the drain system.
GPM: Gallons per minute. Usually used when describing how many gallons of water a plumbing fixture uses to operate.
Hose: A flexible rubber or plastic tube for carrying water. Garden hoses have special fittings to connect to the hose bibb and attachments.