Plumbing Terms 101: A Guide to Industry Lingo

Plumbing Terms 101: A Guide to Industry Lingo Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Plumbing industry jargon proves to be confusing to the average homeowner, however, we're here to help you out! From gray water to branch drains to blowbags, it's no wonder you get confused when listening to plumbers talk. Next time you need to hire a plumber, do it with confidence! Understand their lingo by learning the following terms.


14 Words Commonly Used in the Plumbing Industry

  • Blackwater: This frequently-used plumbing term serves as a euphemism for a rather unmentionable reality of daily life. Blackwater means wastewater, especially the sewage that flows from your toilet every time you flush it. Alternatively, it can also mean wastewater that remains stuck in your clogged toilet.
  • Greywater: Greywater refers to wastewater that flows from all other household fixtures besides toilets.
  • Hard water: Hard water flows through the pipes of billions of homes around the globe. When plumbers use the words “hard water,” they’re describing water with an overabundance of mineral content, which can lead to corrosion and clogged fixtures.
  • Water softener: A water softener removes excess minerals from hard water by means of a specialized substance or device to produce a more comfortable bathing experience and avoid damage to kitchen and bathroom appliances and fixtures.
  • Branch drain: Branch drain refers to the pipe directly connected to your sinks, shower floors, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and more. It flows towards your main drain pipe, which, in turn, connects to the main sewage line that your local government controls.
  • Drain field: Below the surface of your yard, a drain field represents a network of pipes connected to a septic tank. The drain field clears septic tank water of contaminants before allowing it to enter the soil and, ultimately, the water table.
  • Fittings: A fitting represents a common plumbing part that connects two separate pipes together.
  • GPF: GPF serves as an acronym for gallons per flush. According to federal law, modern toilets must have a GPF of 1.6 or lower.
  • Potable water: As one of the oldest plumbing terms in the trade, potable refers to water that remains safe for human consumption. Although most modern societies no longer store drinking water in pots, the word continues to see significant use in the plumbing, legal, and medical fields.
  • Trap seal: All drains connected to the sewer have a curved pipe called a trap to prevent noxious odors from leaking into a home or place of business. The trap seal refers to the water that sits in the trap, blocking the unwanted gasses from entering.
  • Tee: A tee is a T-shaped fitting that connects three separate pipes. Plumbers typically use it to create branch drain lines.
  • Blow bag: As one of the most commonly used tools in the plumbing industry, a blow bag busts through a clogged drain using bursts of forced water. It consists of a nozzle and bladder and connects to an ordinary garden hose.
  • Dope: Dope is a sealant that plumbers apply to threads in order to create a lasting leak-proof, pressure-tight connection. It has a thick paste consistency. One should not confuse it with plumber’s tape, which serves a similar purpose but is more like a stretchy film.
  • Snake: A plumbing snake consists of a flexible, metal cord wound into a spiral. Plumbers insert it into drain pipes to break up especially stubborn clogs.

Call Us Today & Use Your Newly-Acquired Plumbing Jargon!

Now that you know the lingo, you can hire a plumber and feel like one of the pros! If your home or business is in need of some plumbing assistance, you can trust our team to solve the problem. We service the Central Florida area including Plant City, Lakeland, and Winter Haven. Give us a call at (863) 667-6364 to schedule with us today.

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