In plumbing, using technical terms can convey complex ideas quickly and accurately among peers, and jargon often carries precise meanings that might not have equivalent terms in everyday language. However, non-experts and clients can get lost in the words. In this brief article brought to you by Proline Rooter, we demystify some common plumbing lingo.

If you ever need a trained and experienced plumber, then consider the professionals at Proline Rooter. We offer commercial and residential plumbing service as well as emergency plumbing repair service.


Plumbing Terms 101: A Guide to Industry Lingo

Water Softener Installation

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Water Heater Repair

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  • Pipe Fittings

Coupling: A coupling is a connector used to join two pipes of the same diameter.

Elbow: An elbow is a fitting that allows pipes to change direction at a specific angle, such as 90 degrees or 45 degrees.

  • Water Supply Terms

Backflow: Backflow occurs when water flows in the opposite direction than intended, potentially contaminating the clean water supply.

Pressure Regulator: A pressure regulator is a device that controls and reduces the pressure of water entering a building to prevent damage to plumbing fixtures and pipes.

  • Drainage System

Trap: A trap is a curved section of pipe designed to prevent sewer gases from entering a building while allowing wastewater to flow through.

Cleanout: A cleanout is an access point in the drainage system that allows for easy cleaning and clearing of obstructions.

  • Water Heater Terms

Anode Rod: An anode rod is a sacrificial rod inside a water heater tank that attracts corrosive elements, protecting the tank from rust and corrosion.

Thermostat: A thermostat in a water heater controls the temperature of the water, maintaining it at a desired level for hot water supply.

T&P (Temperature and Pressure) Release Valve: The T&P release valve is a safety device installed on water heaters to relieve excess pressure and temperature buildup within the tank.

  • Plumbing Fixtures

P-Trap: Similar to a trap in sinks, a P-trap in a slop sink prevents sewer gases from entering the room while allowing wastewater to flow out.

Trap Arm: The trap arm is a horizontal pipe connected to the trap beneath a sink, allowing wastewater to flow into the drainage system.

  • Sewer System Terms

Sewer Line Lateral: A sewer line lateral is a pipe that carries wastewater from a building to the public sewer system or a septic tank.

Sewer Cleanout: Similar to a drainage cleanout, a sewer cleanout provides access to the sewer line for maintenance and clearing blockages.

  • Pipe Materials

PVC Pipe: PVC pipes are plastic pipes suitable for drainage and venting systems due to their lightweight and non-corrosive properties.

PEX Pipe: Short for cross-linked polyethylene pipes, PEX pipes are a type of flexible plastic tubing known for their versatility, durability, and ease of installation.

  • Water Pressure Terms

PSI (Pounds per Square Inch): PSI measures water pressure, with standard residential water pressure typically around 40-80 PSI.

GPM (Gallons Per Minute): GPM is a measurement of water flow rate, important for determining adequate water pressure in plumbing systems.

Consult with Our Plumbers

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’d like to hire a uniformed plumber, then call Proline Rooter to get in touch with a live member of our team today. Proline Rooter is proud to offer emergency plumbing service for homeowners and businesses alike.


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