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Plumbing Glossary

  • ABS: (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) Rigid black plastic pipe used only for drain lines.
  • Access Panel: An opening in the wall or ceiling near the fixture that allows access for servicing the plumbing/electrical system.
  • Adaptor : A fitting that unites different types of pipe together, e.g. ABS to cast iron pipe.
  • Cleanout: A plug in a trap or drain pipe that provides access for the purpose of clearing an obstruction.
  • Closet Auger: A flexible rod with a curved end used to access the toilet's built-in trap and remove clogs.
  • Closet Bend : A curved fitting that connects the closet flange to the toilet drain.
  • Closet Flange: An anchoring ring secured to the floor. The base of the toilet is secured to this ring with bolts.
  • Coupling :(Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) Rigid plastic pipe used in water supply systems, where code permits.
  • DWV : Abbreviation for drain, waste and vent.
  • Elbow : A pipe fitting with two openings that changes the direction of the line. Also called an ell. It comes in a variety of angles, from 22 1/2 to 90.
  • Fall/Flow : The proper slope or pitch of a pipe for adequate drainage.
  • Fixture : In plumbing, the devices that provide a supply of water and/or its disposal, e.g. sinks, tubs, toilets.
  • Flux : The paste that is used in soldering metal joints. Flux aids the process by preventing oxidation of the joint.
  • I.D. : Abbreviation for inside diameter. All pipes are sized according to their inside diameter.
  • O.D. : Abbreviation for outside diameter.
  • PB (Polybutylene) : Flexible plastic tubing used in water supply systems where allowed by code.
  • Plumber's Putty : A pliable, popular putty used to seal joints between drain pieces and fixture surfaces.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) : A rigid white or cream colored plastic pipe used in non pressure systems, such as waste and vent systems.
  • Reducer : A fitting that connects pipes of different sizes.
  • Riser : A vertical assembly of fittings and pipes that distributes water upward.
  • Rough-In : The portion of a plumbing installation that includes running the water supply lines and drain, waste & vent lines to the proposed location of each fixture.
  • Run : A complete or secondary section(s) of pipe that extend from supply to fixture or drain to stack.
  • Sanitary Fitting : Fitting that joins the assorted pipes in a drain, waste and vent system; designed to allow solid material to pass through without clogging.
  • Soil Stack: Largest vertical drain line to which all branch waste lines connect; carries waste to the sewer line.
  • Solder : A metal alloy that is melted to join or mend metal surfaces; also, the act of melting solder into the joint.
  • Stop Valve : A valve that controls the flow of water to an individual fixture, allowing water supply to be stopped to one fixture without affecting the water supply to other fixtures.
  • Tee : A T-shaped fitting with three openings used to create branch lines.
  • Trap : Curved section of a fixture drain line, designed to hold water thus preventing sewer gases from entering the house.
  • Union : Three-piece fitting that joins two sections of pipe, but allows them to be disconnected without cutting the pipe. Used primarily with steel pipes, but never in a DWV system.
  • Vent Stack : The upper portion of the soil stack above the topmost fixture through which gases and odors escape.
  • WYE : A Y-shaped fitting with three openings used to create branch lines.