The Faulstick Team is fluent in plumbing language. From giant words like bacteriostatic to acronyms like PSI, there’s nothing we can’t explain to our clients. To help you to understand some of the terminology commonly used in the plumbing industry, we have put together a list of 50 common terms and what they mean. Let’s get started!
Aquafer– Aquafers, found under the Earth’s surface, collect rain water and other water flowing underground. This is where a well pump will be drilled into.
Backflow– An unwanted flow of water going in the wrong direction. This can lead to serious health risks due to contamination of water.
Bacteriostatic Treatment– A treatment for home humidifier systems to prevent the buildup of bacteria and mold.
Bleed– To bleed a pipe means to release gasses and air pressure from a sealed area.
Calcification– Hard water can contain high levels of calcium minerals. Calcification occurs when these calcium deposits build up inside of plumbing pipes, making it difficult for water to flow through, causing low water pressure and slow drainage.
City Water– Water that is treated by a municipality to ensure its potablility before reaching your home or business.
Cleanout Plug– Located beneath the drain cover, a cleanout plug is responsible for stopping waste water from flowing into the cleanout pipe, and forcing it to go directly into the sewage pipe.
Copper Pipes– The most traditional type of plumbing pipe. Copper pipes provide great corrosion resistance and are a great option for both hot and cold water usage needs.
Corrosion– Corrosion occurs when metal surfaces are oxidized, or combined chemically with oxygen, damaging the surface of the metal. This can be caused by acidic water.
Erosion– Erosion is the wearing away of the inside metal of a pipe due to the presence of contaminants such as lead, aluminum and chlorine.
Fitting– Fittings are the parts that connect two pipes together
Galvanized Pipes– Steel pipes coated with zinc to prevent erosion.
Garbage Disposal– A home appliance within the kitchen sink, responsible for pulverizing foods to be discarded down the sink drain.
Gasket– A flat rubber or fiber ring used to make a water tight seal.
GPM– GPM stands for Gallons Per Minute, referring to the flow rate of water.
Granulated Activated Carbon Filtration– This is a type of water filtration system, typically used to remove odors, discoloration and bad tastes from your water caused by minerals such a lead, chlorine and arsenic.
Humidifier– A home device used to add humidity to the air.
Low Flow– This term refers to a plumbing device, such as a toilet or faucet, that is designed to use less water than a traditional model.
Nipple– A plumbing nipple is a short piece of pipe, usually with a male pipe thread on both ends, used for connecting two other fittings.
Overflow Tube– An overflow tube is a tube that is connected to the flush valve in a toilet, which keeps excess water from overflowing into the tank of the toilet.
P Trap– This “U” shaped piece of pipe is used to hold water in the belly of the “U” shape, which prevents sewer gases in plumbing drains from seeping into your home. P Traps can be seen under your sinks and on the bottom of your toilet bowl.
PEX Pipes– PEX Pipes are flexible plastic plumbing pipes. They are durable for both hot and cold water use. The flexibility of PEX piping makes instillation easier than traditional metal or plastic piping options, as you have the ability to bend the pipes rather than working with a straight metal or hard plastic option.
Plastic Pipes– Plastic plumbing pipes are used for draining or vent lines.
Plumbing Vents– Located on the roof of your home, plumbing vents are responsible for releasing sewer gases into the air outside of your home.
Plunger– A clog clearing device consisting of a rubber cup on a long handle. It is used to clear a clogged pipe my means of water pressure.
Potable Water– Potable water mean water that is safe to consume.
Pressure Gauge– A pressure gauge is a device that monitors the amount of water pressure present in a water system, such as a hot water heater or well pump.
Pressure Relief Valve (TPR Valve)– Located on the side of a water tank, a pressure relief valve is used to release excess water pressure from the water tank.
Pressure Tank– A pressure tank gives you instant access to well water, without needing to manually turn on the water pump.
PSI– PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch, referring to the amount of water pressure present.
PVC-CPVC Pipes– This type of plumbing pipe is a hard-plastic pipe option. The difference lies between the temperature that they can handle. PVC Pipes can handle up to 140∞F, and only comes in nominal size piping, while CPVC Pipes can handle up to 200∞F, and comes in both nominal and copper pipe sizes.
Reverse Osmosis System– This is a type of water filtration system is used to remove debris from water entering your home, such as silt and sand. There are two types of reverse osmosis systems- whole home and point of use.
Sacrificial Anode Rod– A Sacrificial Anode rod is a metal rod screwed into the top of your water tank, which attracts corrosive elements in your water supply.
Sediment– Sediment is the build up of debris that settles on the bottom of your hot water tank.
Septic Tank– A septic tank, which is typically located underground, is a tank that collects sewage to allow the decomposition process to take place through bacterial activity before draining by means of a leaching field.
Shut Off Valve– A shut off valve is the valve used to turn off the water from flowing. There are whole home shut off valves as well is individual shut off valves, used to turn water flow off to a specific area of the home.
Snake– A plumbing snake is a clog removing tool used to clear a drain obstruction. Plumbing snakes are slender flexible augers (think of a long bendable a drill bit) used to dislodge clogs that cannot be loosened with a plunger, by making direct contact with the obstructive material.
Sump Pump– Sump pumps are used to remove water that has accumulated in a water collection basin, usually found in the basement of most homes. They are used to prevent flooding caused by excess water in the basement.
Toilet Trap– A toilet trap is referring to the “U” shaped section of pipe located at the base of your toilet, otherwise known as a “P Trap.”
Ultraviolet Systems– This type of water treatment system focuses on removing microorganisms from your water such as bacteria. The ultraviolet system will kill and filter out microorganisms from your water supply before it reaches your home
Water Conditioning-Water conditioning alters hard water minerals, but does not remove them from the water supply. A water conditioner will reduce scare, but a water softener will eliminate scale.
Water Filtration– Water filtration is the process by which contaminants such a metals, minerals and microorganisms are removed from a water supply.
Water Heater– A water heater is a tank that heats the contained water to be used. Typical uses of hot water include cooking, cleaning, bathing and space heating.
Water Line– A water line is the pipe that leads city water into your home from the municipal water source.
Water Main– A water main is the web of water pipes underground in an area supplying city water to residents and business owners for use. They are usually buried under out roads and sidewalks. Water mains are maintained by the city and paid for my water rates.
Water Pressure– Water pressure is the force of which water is flowing.
Water Softening System– A water softening system is responsible for removing scale from a water supply.
Water Well– A water well is the hole that is bored into the earth to be able to retrieve a water supply from within the Earth’s surface.
Well Pump– A well pump is used to pull water from within the water well into the water heater tank, to then be used within a home.
Well Water– Well water is water that is received directly from the earth into your home for use. Unlike city water, well water is not treated by the municipality in which you live, and is the responsibility of the home owner to perform all water treatments.
We hope that this review of plumbing terminology will help you to better understand the language of the industry! Do you have a plumbing, water treatment or well pump that needs to be serviced? Let’s do it together! Call Faulstick at 570-992-0447 today to schedule an appointment with one of our professionals!