Plumbing Terminology

Common Plumbing & Drain Terminology

Understanding common plumbing terminology is essential for both homeowners and professionals in the industry. Read our easy-to-reference guide for some of the most frequently used terms:


A device attached to the end of a faucet that mixes air with water to reduce splashing and conserve water.


The reverse flow of contaminated water into the clean water supply, usually prevented by a backflow preventer.


An access point in a plumbing system that allows for the clearing of clogs and maintenance of drain pipes.


An object in a plumbing system that uses water, such as a sink, toilet, or faucet.

Flapper Valve 

A rubber or plastic part found in the tank of a toilet that lifts to allow water to flow from the tank into the bowl.

GPM (Gallons Per Minute) 

A measurement unit for the flow rate of water, often used to describe the capacity of faucets, showerheads, and other plumbing fixtures.


A U-shaped pipe under sinks and other fixtures designed to catch debris and prevent sewer gases from entering the home.

Sump Pump 

A pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a sump pit, commonly found in basements.

T&P Valve (Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve) 

A safety device installed on water heaters that releases water if the temperature or pressure inside the tank becomes too high.

Vent Stack 

A vertical pipe in a plumbing system that allows sewer gases to escape and provides air circulation to ensure proper drainage.

Shutoff Valve 

A valve used to stop the flow of water to a particular fixture or part of a plumbing system, essential for emergency repairs or maintenance.

Septic Tank 

An underground tank where sewage is collected and decomposed through bacterial activity before flowing to a drain field.

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