Glossary of Plumbing Terms

A diaphragm is a flexible membrane that helps regulate water flow and build up within a valve.

Dip Tube
A dip tube sends cold water to the bottom of a water heater tank.

Drip Leg
A drip leg, also known as a “sediment trap”, is a pipe installed at the lower segment on a gas line. The capped off section collects condensation and any debris.

The escutcheon is a protective cover under the faucet handle that masks the fixture’s hole.

The fall, also known as flow or pitch, refers to the slope needed to create proper drainage in pipes.

A fixture refers to the plumbing device that provides water and/or disposal. Common fixtures in plumbing are toilets, sinks and showers.

Flapper Valve
A flapper valve connects the water tank and toilet bowl. When the flapper valve opens, water flows from the tank into the bowl.

Float Ball
A float ball is the plastic ball attached to the ballcock. The rise and fall of water in the tank is determined by the float ball’s placement.

Floor Flange
A floor flange, also known as a closet flange, connects a toilet to the sewer line.

Gas Cock
A gas cock on a main gas line allows for the gas to be shut off.

Gate Valve
A gate valve controls the flow of liquids in pipes.

Gravity Operated Toilet
A gravity operated toilet relies on downward pressure of water in a toilet tank to flush. Gravity operated toilets usually have ballcocks in their tank.

Gray water
Gray water is any waste water that comes from fixtures other than toilets.

Horizontal Branch
A horizontal branch runs from plumbing fixtures to a waste stack.

Horizontal Run
A horizontal run is the distance liquid travels from the entry point and exit of a pipe.

Hose Bib
A hose bib is a common outdoor faucet.

Main Line
The main line supplies water from the water company’s meter at street level to the branch pipes around a home or other building.

A nipple is a short pipe that connects couplings and other fittings.

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