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Glossary of Plumbing Terms

Plumbing Vocabulary and Industry Terms | Glossary
Plumbing Vocabulary and Industry Terms | Glossary

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There are currently 24 names in this directory beginning with the letter A.
Alternating Current – Electrical supply in which the polarity of the hot wire reverses rapidly (unlike in DC).

Abbreviation for Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene. ABS is used for manufacturing rigid black plastic pipes used for drain, waste, and vent lines.

American Gas Association (abbreviation).

A flexible rod, usually constructed of a metal spring. A cutting implement is usually attached at one end, and is used to clear away clogs in your drain. Underground drain lines require a larger auger, which will often be motorized to power through bigger, more problematic blockages.

A unit of measure of current flow.

A Valve
A gas shut-off valve. Valves are mechanical devices that control the flow and pressure within a plumbing system. They are essential components of a piping system that conveys liquids, gases, vapors, etc. Different types of valves are available: gate, ball, globe, plug, butterfly, check, diaphragm, pinch, pressure relief, control valves, etc. Some valves are self-operated while others are manually-operated.

The level of concentration of acid in water. Acid (higher acidity in water) will neutralize an alkali/base. Acidity is usually expressed in terms of its calcium carbonate equivalent. The opposite term to acidity is alkalinity. The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A pH less than 7 is acidic. Alkalis dissolve in water to give a pH greater than 7. A pH equal to 7 indicates a neutral solution.

A fitting that unites different types of pipe together, such as ABS to cast-iron pipe, PEX to copper pipe, etc.

A device that mixes air into flowing water. It is screwed onto the end of a faucet spout to help reduce splashing and save the water consumption.

Air Gap
Connects to the drain line between the dishwasher and garbage disposal to allow debris to discharge into the disposal and prevent dirty water from returning to the dishwasher.

An air bubble that stops liquid flowing through a pipe.

To turn on, supply power, or enable systems, equipment or devices to become active by normal operating controls. Examples: turning on the gas or water supply valves to the fixtures and appliances; or activating electrical breakers/fuses.

ABS pipes
Rigid plastic pipes that perform very well in plumbing, especially when used for drain, waste, and vent lines.

Anode rod
An anode rod is a small rod on the inside of your tank-type water heater that helps to reduce the effects of corrosive elements in your water that can eat away from the inside of your water heater. Anode rod is usually made from weaker metals than the metal your tank is made of and keeps your tank from being directly affected by corrosion. After a while, your anode rod gets diminished to a very thin rod.

Access cover
Removable plate that permits access to a pipe or pipe fitting for the purpose of inspection, maintenance, repair or replacement.

Access panel
A covered opening in a wall or ceiling near a fixture that allows easy access for servicing the plumbing/electrical system. For example, an access panel will allow you to shut off the water by giving access to the valve. Access panels come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

In the opinion of the inspector, the object (plumbing fixture, etc.) can be approached or entered safely without difficulty, fear or danger.

Adjustable Hot Limit Stop
Restricts the amount of hot water released by your system at a time to prevent scalding.

Air Bleeder
A device that, when opened, allows air to flow out of the hydronic system.

The measurement of constituents in a water supply which determines alkaline conditions. The alkalinity of water is a measure of its capacity to neutralize acids. The opposite term to alkalinity is acidity. The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A pH less than 7 is acidic. Alkalis dissolve in water to give a pH greater than 7. A pH equal to 7 indicates a neutral solution.

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

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

Auto Float Vent
A device that will allow air out but not the water. Air bleeder will close when it is full of water.

Automatic Transfer Switch
A device that automatically switches the power source to a backup generator in the event the primary power source fails.

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