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The 28 Most Common Plumbing Terms Every Household Should Know

We all know that plumbing is a critical part of our homes’ infrastructure.

However, unless you’re a professional plumber, chances are you don’t understand plumbing slang terms.

In this blog post, we will explain 28 of the most common plumbing terms every household should know – from backflow prevention to sewer lines. 

Read on for an in-depth understanding so that next time something goes wrong with your pipes or drains, you’ll be able to communicate effectively with plumbers around the country.

The Most Common Plumbing Terms in Use Today

Here is a list of the most common plumbing terminology you’ll surely love to know.

1. Drain

It is a pathway that carries waste water or sewage away from your home. The drain ensures smooth flow, preventing clogs and backups.

2. Trap

A vital component of a plumbing system that creates a water barrier, preventing foul odors and harmful gases from entering your living spaces.

3. Vent

A vent is a pipe that allows air to enter the plumbing system. It ensures proper drainage and prevents air pressure issues that can hinder water flow.

4. Faucet

The control valve regulates the flow of water from pipes. Having a faucet will allow you to turn the water on or off and adjust the water temperature for various uses.

5. Pipe

The pipe is the main network of tubes that transport water, gas, or waste throughout a building. It connects fixtures and ensures proper distribution.

6. Shut-off valve

It’s a type of valve that enables you to stop the water supply to a specific area or fixture. This includes the sink or toilet, in case of emergencies or repairs.

7. Water heater

A water heater is a device that heats and stores water for your everyday needs. 

8. Septic system

The septic system is a self-contained wastewater treatment system where sewage flows into an underground tank for natural breakdown and filtration.

9. Sump pump

A sump pump is used to prevent flooding in basements or low-lying areas by removing excess water and redirecting it away from your home.

10. Backflow preventer

This device is installed in plumbing systems to prevent reverse water flow. 

11. Pressure regulator

A pressure regulator helps maintain consistent water pressure in your plumbing system. 

12. Water meter

A water meter is a device used by utility companies to measure the amount of water consumed in your home.

13. Sewer line

These are the underground pipes that carry wastewater from your home to the main sewer system or septic tank.

14. Overflow pipe

This type of pipe is designed to prevent flooding by directing excess water away from fixtures or containers, such as sinks or toilets.

15. Flange

Flage is a flat, circular fitting used to connect pipes securely. 

16. Teflon tape

It is a thin, non-sticky tape commonly used to seal pipe threads. 

17. Elbow

An elbow is a plumbing fitting with a sharp bend that allows pipes to change direction smoothly without disrupting water flow.

18. Tee

A tee is a plumbing fitting shaped like the letter “T,” used to connect three pipes at right angles.

19. Union

A union is a type of fitting that joins two pipes together. 

20. Nipple

A nipple is a short length of pipe with threaded ends used to connect fittings or extend pipe length.

21. Coupling

A coupling is another type of fitting used to connect two pipes of the same diameter.

22. Bushing

A busing is a different type of fitting that connects pipes of different diameters.

23. Auger

An auger is a flexible tool, often called a plumber’s snake. It’s used to clear clogs from pipes by rotating and breaking up obstructions.

24. Effluent

Effluent is the wastewater or sewage that is discharged from a plumbing system.

25. Hose Bibb

A hose bibb is an outdoor faucet or valve connected to a water supply. 

26. Non-potable

Non-potable water is the kind of water that is not safe for drinking or not for human consumption.

27. Riser

The riser is a vertical pipe or tube that carries water or other fluids upward, typically used in multi-story buildings to distribute water to upper levels.


28. Shutoff Valve

A shutoff valve controls the flow of water in a plumbing system, allowing you to stop or start the water supply to a specific fixture or area.

Take Care of Your Pipes Today

Plumbing is an often-overlooked but important part of every home. Having a basic understanding of these 28 most common plumbing terms is key to helping you take care of your plumbing needs.

If you are in need of any plumbing services, whether simply for maintenance or perhaps more serious repairs, reach out to the experts at Drain Magic

Book an appointment here.