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Plumbing Glossary

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A Valve - A manual gas shut-off ???A Valve???.

ABS - (Aristocraft bristone styrine) A rigid black plastic piping used for waste, vent, and drain lines.

Access Panel - An opening in the wall or ceiling near the fixture that allows access for servicing the plumbing/electrical system.

Acid - A substance that increases the concentration of hydrogen ions when dissolved in water. Most acids dissolve common metals and will react with a base to form a salt.

Acidity - The level of concentration of acid in water. Acid will neutralize an alkali or base. It is usually expressed in terms of its calcium carbonate equivalent.

Acrylic - A thermoplastic (heat activated) used on the surfaces of bathtubs and whirlpools. It usually comes in sheets and is backed by fiberglass to form waterproof shower walls.

Adaptor - A fitting that unites different types of pipe together, for example: ABS (Aristocraft bristone styrine) to cast iron pipe.

Aerator - A device screwed into the end of a faucet spout that mixes air into flowing water, and controls flow to reduce splashing. It sometimes contains a baffle to reduce flow to 2.5 gpm.

Air Lock - Blockage in the flow of liquid, esp. on the suction side of a pump caused by an air bubble in the line.

Airbreak - An airbreak is a physical separation, which may be a low inlet into the indirect waste receptor from the fixture, appliance, or device indirectly connected.

Alkali - A water-soluble mineral compound, usually a moderate strength base (as opposed to caustic hydroxide), such as a bicarbonate and carbonate compound when it is present in the water. The measurement of constituents in a water supply which determine alkaline conditions. The alkalinity of water is a measure of its capacity to neutralize acids.

Alkalinity - The measurement of constituents in a water supply which determine alkaline conditions. The alkalinity of water is a measure of its capacity to neutralize acids, also referred to as pH.

Ambient Temperature - The average temperature of the air surrounding an appliance.

Angle Stop - A shutoff valve between the water pipes and a faucet. Its inlet connects to the water supply pipe in a wall, and its outlet angles up 90 degrees toward the faucet. These are usually used to shut off water to a fixture in case of an emergency repair rather than daily usage.

Angular Discharge Tube - A discharge tube that changes the direction of water flow to approximately 90 degrees.

Anode Rod - A sacrificial rod installed in a water heater that protects the tank from corrosion, helping to extend the life of the tank.

Anti-Siphon - Preventive device for the backflow of liquid into a system. Used on sprinkler systems to prevent water from trickling back into the supply that is feeding it.

Back Flow Preventer - A device to prevent water from traveling from one system back into any part of the main distribution system, usually by siphoning, esp. into a potable water supply. This is generally required for sprinkler systems, handheld showers, pullout faucet spouts, kitchen sprayers, etc.

Back Pressure - Pressure that resists the flow of fluid in a piping system.

Back Siphonage - A negative pressure that causes backflow.

Backflow - Backflow is the flow of water or other liquids, mixtures, or subsatnaces into the distributing pipes of a potable supply of water from any sources other than its intended source.

Backup - The overflow of a plumbing fixture due to drain stoppage e.g. a clogged toilet or clogged drain.

Backwater Valve - Sewer line valve that prevents sewage from flowing back into the house.

Ball Check Valve - A valve that uses a ball to seal against a seat to stop flow in one direction.

Ballcock - The fill valve that controls the flow of water from the water supply line into a gravity-operated toilet tank. It is controlled by a float mechanism that floats in the tank water. When the toilet is flushed, the float drops and opens the ballcock, releasing water into the tank and/or bowl. As the water in the tank is restored, the float rises and shuts off the ballcock when the tank is full.

Basin Wrench - A wrench with a long handle with jaws mounted on a swivel that allows the jaws to reach and handle nuts to fasten faucets to a previously installed sink.

Basket Strainer - A basket-shaped strainer with holes and a slot that fits into a sink or shower drain to allow water to run out but to catch food or other objects before they can enter the sewage system and possibly clog the drain.

Bidet (pronounced Bid-day - A personal hygiene plumbing fixture similar in appearance to a toilet bowl used for washing genitals and posterior areas of the body. It is mounted on the floor next to a toilet and consists of a washing basin, a hot and cold faucet, and sprayer.

Bleed - To drain a pipe, tube, or hose of excess air by opening a valve at the end or systematically removing the air by force or suction.

Blowbag - A drain-cleaning device consisting of a rubber bladder with a hose fitting on one end and a nozzle on the other. The device attaches to a water hose and is inserted into a clogged drainpipe. As water is introduced, it expands to grip the pipe, and releases pulsating bursts of water through the nozzle, forcing water through the pipe to clear the obstruction.


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