Plumbing Terminology 101: 9 Terms Homeowners Must Know

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Plumbing terminology can be confusing if you don’t have experience in the industry. However, knowing the correct terms for various aspects of your home’s plumbing system will help you identify problems accurately. Learning plumbing terms will allow you to articulate your plumbing issues and concerns with plumbers, ensuring prompt, long-term repairs. 

As a homeowner, you don’t need to learn every word or phrase concerning plumbing. However, our Pride Services team thinks everyone should have general knowledge of plumbing features and parts. Here is the plumbing terminology our plumbing experts in Rockville Centre, NY, think everyone should know. 

1. Water Closet

A water closet or closet is another way of describing a small, enclosed space containing a flushing toilet in a larger bathroom. Its definition is a plumbing fixture with a water receptor receiving liquid and solid bodily waste. 

2. Vent Stack

A vent is a pipe where air can travel into a drain system. A vent stack or plumbing vent refers to a stink pipe that allows odors and gas from inside the house to release outdoors and fresh air to seep indoors. The vent helps regulate the air pressure within your home’s plumbing system while improving drainage. 

3. P-Traps and S-Traps

This plumbing terminology refers to pipes in P and S shapes. P-traps and S-traps keep foul-smelling sewer gas from flowing back indoors after you flush solid waste down a toilet. The gas can’t come up the drain because the pipe’s curvature retains a bit of water that helps neutralize sewer smells.

4. Shut-Off Valve

The shut-off valve is the knob you turn to stop water from flowing into any plumbing fixture, faucet, or appliance in your house. For instance, if your toilet is backing up, you can turn off its water supply by turning the shut-off valve of the base of the commode. Though you can stop water from flowing to a fixture or faucet using the shut-off valve, it won’t affect the water flow to other parts of the house. 

5. Access Panel

The access panel is a small opening near a fixture. You can find it either in the wall or ceiling near a plumbing fixture, and it gives plumbers and electricians access to plumbing and electrical systems components that are not in plain sight. 

6. Ballcock

If you have a gravity-operated toilet, its tank contains a ballcock. The component controls the water flow inside the tank.

When you flush the toilet, the ballcock opens, and the round float or “ball” drops. The float rises as water fills the tank. Once the water reaches the desired level, the float stops moving and causes the ballcock to shut, which prevents the tank from overfilling with water. 

7. Pressure Reducing Valve

The pressure-reducing valve, or PRV, is a valve on your house’s main water line. It automatically lowers the pressure of the water entering your plumbing system from the city’s main water supply to ensure your home has reasonable water pressure distribution throughout the property. 

8. Septic System

A septic system is a wastewater treatment system that does not connect to a municipal sewer system. Instead, the system remains on the property of the house it serves.

The septic system includes a tank for storing and breaking down solid and liquid waste, pipes connecting the tank to the house, and a drain field where wastewater seeps into the soil for additional filtration before it reaches groundwater. Bacteria and enzymes inside the septic tank break down the waste, so a majority of the liquid flows into the drain field. The solid sludge remains behind for manual removal. 

9. Backflow and Overflow

Backflow and overflow are common plumbing terms that people often use interchangeably. However, backflow is when water flows back through the main plumbing system through pipes inside or outside the house. Overflow refers to water that fails to drain to exterior plumbing lines due to a clog within the pipes. 

Receive the Best Residential Plumbing Assistance From Pride Services

Even if you’re unfamiliar with basic plumbing terminology, you can rely on our professionals at Pride Services to handle all your plumbing needs. Our licensed and skilled plumbers dedicate themselves to exceeding customer expectations through friendly customer service and a wide range of comprehensive plumbing services. We have the skills to address problems in new homes and new residences.

Contact our team in Rockville Centre, NY, to schedule an appointment by calling (516) 916-6894.

Published: Mar 10, 2023

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