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Plumbing Terminology
Extensive Online Plumbing Dictionary

Click on any letter of the term you would like to find
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

"A" Valve:
A manual gas shut-off valve.


ABS:
Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene. Rigid black plastic pipe used for drain, waste, and vent lines.


Absolute Pressure:
Atmospheric pressure added to a gauge pressure.


Absorption Field:
A leeching or seeping field engineered to receive septic tank effluent.


AC:
Alternating Current. Electrical supply in which polarity of wire, reverses rapidly.


Acceptance Factor:
Bladder tank draw down expressed in percentage.


Access Panel:
Covered opening in a wall or ceiling near a fixture that allows access for servicing a plumbing or electric 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.


Actuator Button:
Located on the left side of tank or in center of tank cover. Button is depressed to activate flushing cycle.


Acrylic:
Thermoplastic used on surface of bathtubs and whirlpools. Usually comes in sheets and backed by fiberglass to form shower walls.


ADA:
Americans with Disabilities Act - Effective in 1992, this act places a number of construction demands on the plumbing industry. For faucets, handles must require no pinching or grasping, and must require less that 5lbs. of force to operate. In addition, metering faucets must run for at least 10 seconds. The act is administered on a state-by-state basis.


Adaptor:
A fitting that joins two different types of pipes together, such as ABD to cast-iron, or threaded to non-threaded.


Adjusting Link:
An adjustable strap or bar forming a connection between the lift rod of a faucet and the ball lever assembly of the drain.


Adsorbent:
A material, usually solid, capable of holding gases, liquids and/or suspended matter at its surface and in exposed pores. Activated carbon is a common adsorbent used in water treatment.


Adsorption:
The process in which matter adheres to the surface of an adsorbent.


Aeration:
The mixing or turbulent exposure of water to air and oxygen to dissipate volatile contaminants and other pollutants into the air.


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 baggle to reduce flow to 2.5 gpm.


Aerobic:
An action or process conducted in the presence of air, such as aerobic digestion of organic matter by bacteria.


AGA:
American Gas Association.


AIA:
American Institute of Architects.


Air Admittance Valve:
A device that replaces a traditional vent to allow air to enter the pipe and equalize pressure, preserving the seal of water in the fixture trap.


Air Chamber:
Vertical, air-filled pipe or spring coil, set above the water line to absorb pressure when water is turned off at the faucet. Pressure absorbing devices to eliminate water hammer.


Air Check:
A device that allows water, but not air, to pass through it. An air check is a typical component of a treatment system using a regenerant eductor.


Air Elimination Vent:
A device which automatically eliminates trapped air in the "close-loop" hydronic system.


Air Gap:
A device mounted at the back of a kitchen sink connecting to the drain line between a dishwasher and disposer to allow the dishwasher to discharge freely into the disposer while preventing contaminated water from siphoning back into the dishwasher.


Air Gas Ratio:
The ratio of combustion air supply flow rate to the fuel gas supply flow rate.


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


Air Volume Control:
Maintains the air charge in a standard water storage tank. Pre-charged tanks do not require an air volume control.


Alachlor:
One of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. Alachlor is a odorless white solid used to control weeds in corn and soybean fields. Long-term exposure to high levels of Alachlor can cause damage to liver, kidney, spleen, lining of nose and eyelids, and can increase risk of cancer.


Alarm Check Valve:
A check valve located in the riser of a wet pipe fire sprinkler system that sounds an alarm when water begins to pass through it.


Alkali:
Water-soluble mineral compound, usually a moderate strength base, such as bicarbonate and carbonate compound when it is present in the water.


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.


Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate:
Sulfonate A chemical compound formerly used as detergent. Sometimes called "hard" detergent, because of its resistance to biological degradation, largely replaced with linear alkyl sulfonate, which is more readily biodegradable.


Aluminum Rail Fittings:
Rail fittings made of aluminum. Used to hold pipes used for hand rails.


Ambient Head/Pressure:
The heat or pressure in the area where the equipment is located.


Ambient Temperature:
The average temperature of the atmosphere in the vicinity of an appliance.


Americast:
A patented process that uses a porcelain surface, an enameling grade steel material and a structural composite backing bonded together to create a sink that is similar to cast iron in durability but weighs considerably less.


Ampere:
A unit of measure of current flow.


Anaerobic:
Able to live and grow without air or free oxygen, such as some types of bacteria that break down waste in a septic system.


Angel Discharge Tube:
Discharge tube that changes direction of the flow 90°'s.


Angle Seat Wrench:
Valve seat wrench with a handle that includes a 90° bend.


Angle Stop (1):
A shutoff valve between water pipes and a faucet. Its inlet connects to the water supply pipe in a wall and its outlet 'angles' up to 90°'s toward the faucet, toilet, or bidet.


Angle Stop (2):
Water supply shutoff valve which also changes the direction of the flow of supply water.


Anion:
A negatively charged ion in solution, such as bicarbonate, chloride, or sulfate. An anion may result from the dissociation of a salt, acid, or alkali.


Annealing:
A softening treatment consisting of the heating carbon or alloy steel to an appropriate temperature, holding at the temperature for a proper period of time and slowly cooling to room temperature.


Anode Rod:
A sacrificial rod installed in a water heater, composed of one or more metals that protects the tank from corrosion, helping to extend the life of the tank.


ANSI:
American Nation Standards Act.


Anti-Clog Suction:
Whirlpool water re circulating system mechanism which prevents clogging without restricting water flow.


Anti-Scald:
An anti-scald device prevents the water from drastically increasing which can cause scalding. Anti-scald devices will help keep your water a consistent temperature.


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


API:
American Petroleum Institute.


Apron:
The apron, or skirting, a separating portion of a bathtub that covers the rough-in area from the floor to the top rim of the tub. It is often sold separately from the tub.


Aquastat:
A thermostat that is submerged in water and is used to control the operation of a specific device.


Aqueous:
Containing water. Formed by the action of water.


Aquifer:
A layer or zone below the surface of the earth which is capable of yielding a significant volume of water. The upper level of the aquifer is called the water table.


Arrestor Plate:
A perforated plate of steel that control the burning of vapors and prevents flames from backflashing into the room.


Arrow Head:
A heavy duty auger cable tip.


Arsenic:
A natural element of the earth's crust, which enters water supplies either through natural deposition or agricultural and industrial pollution. It is said to be carcinogenic and to be harmful to the skin and circulatory system.


ASA:
American Supply Association.


ASHRAE:
American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Engineers.


ASME:
American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Aspiration:
The result of mixing air with discharging water for the purpose of enhancing the hydro-massage effect of the whirlpool.


ASSE:
American Society of Sanitation Engineers.


ASTM:
American Society for Testing Materials.


Atmospheric Combustion:
Burning which takes place when gaseous, liquid, or solid fuels react at an elevated temperature with oxygen, this releasing heat.


Atrazine:
Currently the most widely used herbicide to control weeds especially in corn crops. Exposure to high levels of Atrzine can cause cancer and damage the cardiovascular system.


Auto Pilot:
A gas pilot device which automatically shuts off the gas supply to the appliance burner if the pilot flame is extinguished.


Avonite:
A solid surface material resembling granite, used for countertops, can be worked and polished using woodworking tools.


AWG:
American Wire Gauge. Identifies gauges of electric wire from 46 to 4.0.


AWWA:
American Water Works Assn.


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