Plumbing Terms That Every Homeowner Should Know

Whether you’re hiring a professional plumber or planning a DIY plumbing project, as a homeowner, there are a few common plumbing terms that you should know before jumping into any project.  Plumbing systems are intricate and hidden from sight, so before you tear into your walls, familiarize yourself with some of the system’s working parts.  After all, when a plumbing issue pops up, it rarely gives you notice.  

So say, for example, that you wake up in the morning to find that your bathroom faucet is broken, and you want to fix it yourself.  You’ll need to go to the hardware store to get the part that’s broken, but do you know what that part is called or what it does?  It’s a familiar story that many homeowners experience. Even when you would rather just leave it to the pros, it helps to at least be able to carry on a conversation with your plumber without having to break out your home improvement dictionary.  That’s why we have compiled a list of common plumbing terms that can help you become more familiar with the inner-workings of your home.  Here’s what you should know:

  • Main – This refers to your home’s main water supply source.  It’s the source that all of your water lines are connected to.
  • Shutoff Valve – This valve is installed under sinks and toilets.  It controls the water supply to each fixture.  When repairs need to be done, this valve should be turned off.  It may also be referred to as an angle stop.
  • Fitting – These come in all sorts of styles, shapes and sizes.  They’re responsible for connecting, or fitting, two pipes together.
  • Relief Valve – This valve is located in your hot water heater system.  It’s used to release temperature or pressure from the unit.  It may also be referred to as a T&P valve.   
  • Dip Tube – This is a tube that’s found inside of your water heater that transports cold water to the bottom of your tank.
  • Clean-Out Plug – This plug is the entry point to all of the pipes in your plumbing system.  It’s a circular plug with a square knob on its front, and it’s mainly used to clear blockages.
  • Plumbing Snake – This is a tool used to remove blockages from your plumbing system.  It’s made up of a thin flexible wire that’s inserted into a pipe until it reaches the clog source, grabs it, and removes it.  
  • Auger – Similar to a plumbing snake, this is a flexible, metal wire that’s used to get rid of blockages in drains and toilets.  It may also be referred to as a toilet jack.
  • O-Ring – This is the round, rubber washer that seals valves.
  • Ballcock – This is a valve found in the toilet tank that refills the system once water is drawn out from it, or flushed.
  • Flapper – Working with the Ballcock, this is a rubber plug that is found at the bottom of your toilet tank that allows the water to flow in and out of the bowl when you flush.
  • Trip Lever – This is the lever or handle you push to flush your toilet.

These are just a few great, common plumbing terms that will help familiarize you with your home plumbing systems.  If you have any questions at all concerning your plumbing, or decide that your plumbing issues are much more than a simple weekend DIY project, give us a call!  Tritan Plumbing is here to answer your questions and assist in all of your plumbing needs.


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