A-Z Common Plumbing Terms (A-H)


Do you speak “plumber?” It’s a mixture of technical terms, industry jargon and occasionally homespun philosophy uttered by the gentleman or lady who comes to fix your plumbing problems or install new fixtures. You know it when you hear it, but you may not know what it means. If this happens, politely interrupt and ask the plumber to break down what he or she mentioned into terms you would understand. Any experienced professional will be happy to do so.

A discussion of plumbing problems includes certain terminology standard to the trade. As there are dozens, if not hundreds, of plumbing terms out there, we’ve created a three-part blog series to highlight some A-Z vocab essentials. The first of the series will focus on the first eight, from A-H:

  • Air Vent: Air vent pipes extending to the roof equalize pressure inside household drain pipes to facilitate free flow. A clogged air vent is often the cause of a sluggish drain problem that just won’t go away.
  • Backflow: When sewage runs the wrong direction—i.e. back into your house instead of away—due to a blockage in the sewage line, backflow may enter the house through drain openings. It’s a disgusting and toxic phenomenon that requires immediate attention by a plumber.
  • Clog: Anything that inhibits free flow through a drain pipe. Two common causes of clogs are grease poured down the kitchen drain and hair and soap scum in the bathroom drain. Flushing any paper product other than toilet paper can clog a toilet.
  • Diverter: The valve that diverts water flow from the bathtub spout up to the showerhead.
  • Earthquake Strap: If you don’t have one, you should in this region. It secures your water heater from toppling over during an earthquake, preventing fire hazards or water damage from busted pipes.
  • Flapper: That big round rubber or plastic valve in the bottom of your toilet tank with the chain attached. If your toilet “runs” constantly or intermittently when nobody’s using it, a leaky flapper is the usual suspect.
  • GPF: Short for gallons-per-flush. Old-school toilets were major water-wasters, consuming 5 GPF or more. Today’s high-efficiency toilet models use only 1.28 GPF.
  • Hard Water: High mineral content means the local water supply is “hard.” It’s not a health hazard, however, mineral deposits gradually accumulate in pipes and water heaters. Hard water doesn’t rinse well, causing spotty glassware and limp hairstyles.

If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out “Questions to Ask Your Plumber.”

North County Plumbing is located in Oceanside, California and has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services with no overtime charges! Contact us today!

About North County Plumbing Experts

Comments are closed.