(800) 305-6380

Registered in

You are here: Homepage » Terminology

Plumbing Terminology

Listed below are terms commonly used in the plumbing industry. With this online plumbing glossary / plumbing dictionary as your reference and plumber Dallas guide, its unlikely for you to get lost in any plumbing discussion. Familiarize yourself with plumbing terminology and learn more about plumbing in general by reading through this list that covers plumbing supplies, home plumbing, emergency plumbing and other plumbing services.


An acronym that stands for Aristocraft Bristone Styrine, which is a hard, black plastic piping material used for vents and drains.

Access Panel

You can reach your plumbing system through this panel, typically found in walls and ceilings next to fixtures.


A feature that fits pipes of different sizes and/or materials together.


Found beside the tip of the faucet, this accessory mixes air with water to prevent splashing.

Angle Stop

The shutoff valve between the water supply line and the faucet/ toilet, which should be turned off during plumbing emergencies. It's angled at 90 degrees and is found near its respective fixture.


When water flows back into the main water supply.

Backflow Preventer

A fixture designed to prevent backflow.


Primarily responsible for controlled water flow from the water supply line to the toilet. This device is activated by a float, and is found in the toilet's water tank. When you flush, the float drops, opens the ballcock, and fills the tank. Once full, the float rises and closes the ballcock.


The measure of the water's clearness.

Closet Auger

Flexible, curved bar used to deal with clogs in the toilet trap.


(See “Ballcock”.)


Joins any two pipes or any two fittings.


Allows water to flow in several directions and different outlets. Used most commonly in showers, bathtubs, sinks, and bidets.


A system of pipes that draws away liquids.


An acronym that stands for Drain, Waste, Vent, the three main parts of the drainage system.


Pipe fitting with two openings, capable of altering the direction of water flow in the pipeline. These come in several angles.

Female Fitting

A fitting that can have another fitting fit inside it.


A general term which refers to piping features like faucets and shower valves.


A general term which refers to devices that receive fresh water and dispose of wastewater, like tubs, sinks, and toilets.

Flapper Valve

When opened, this mechanism allows water to flow from the water tank into the toilet bowl. Usually located at the bottom of the toilet tank.

Toilet valve that closes after a certain amount of water has been let through.


An acronym that stands for Gallons Per Flush. A unit of measure that indicates the flow rate of toilets.


An acronym that stands for Gallons Per Minute. A unit of measure that indicates the flow rate of faucets and showerheads.

Hot Water Main

It's through this pipe that fixtures are supplied with hot water.


Inside Diameter, the measure of the interior of a pipe.


Iron Pipe Size, the standard measurement for pipe threading. The IPS is based on the pipe's outside diameter.

Toilet tank cover.


The main channel of the plumbing system, to which all other pipes (drain and supply) branch off.


A fitting that connects multiple branches to the main.

Mixing Valve

The faucet valve that allows the mixing of hot and cold water to reach a desired temperature.


A short-threaded pipe that squeezes between couplings or other fittings, that enables the extension of an existing connection.

Pipe Wrench

A tool that is used for holding and turning pipes. Pipe wrenches typically have two jaws, only one of which is adjustable.

Plumber's Putty

Material that is used to seal joints between pipes and fixtures.

Plumbing Code

The legal requirements and guidelines which all plumbers must adhere to.


Basic plumbing tool that clears up clogs in traps and drains through suction and pressure.


Polyvinyl Chloride, a strong white plastic that is used to make water supply lines.


A vertical pipe that carries water to its respective fixture.

Shutoff Valve

Generally points to the angle stop of a certain fixture, but can also refer to a branch line valve or the main valve located directly beside the water meter. It's strongly advised that shutoff valves be closed during plumbing emergencies.


Used either for insulation or protection of walls and pipes. Sleeves pass through walls so that other pipes may be inserted through them.


A device commonly found in sinks and bathtubs, which prevents solid residue from entering and clogging drains.

Supply Lines

These are the pipes responsible for carrying fresh water to fixtures.


The curved section of the drainpipe attached to every fixture. Traps prevent the unpleasant odors of sewage and waste from seeping into the house. All fixtures with drains make use of “P” traps apart from toilets, which use “S” traps.


A mechanism that controls the flow of liquid or gas to or from a pipe.


This protrudes from the roof and allows air to pass through the drainpipes, ensuring wastewater flows properly.

Have questions that this plumber's helper wasn't able to answer? Contact Plumber Dallas to learn plumbing terms and techniques usually reserved for professionals. You can also call to avail of the company's plumber services.