Friday, January 19, 2024

Plumbing Glossary

This glossary should help you understand the basic terminology related to plumbing systems.


  1. Drain Pipe:

    • A pipe that carries wastewater from plumbing fixtures to a sewer or other disposal point.
  2. Waste Pipe:

    • A pipe that carries waste from plumbing fixtures, excluding human waste.
  3. Vent Pipe:

    • A pipe that allows air to enter the plumbing system, preventing siphoning and ensuring proper drainage.
  4. Combination Sewer:

    • A sewer that carries both stormwater and sanitary sewage.
  5. Public Sewer:

    • A sewer owned and maintained by a public entity or municipality.
  6. Building Sewer:

    • The pipe that carries sewage from a building to the public sewer or other disposal point.
  7. Building Drain:

    • The part of the drainage system that extends from the base of the building to the building sewer.
  8. Private Sewer:

    • A sewer that is not owned or maintained by a public entity but serves private properties.
  9. Septic Tank:

    • A tank buried underground that receives and decomposes sewage from a building.
  10. Soil Pipe:

    • A pipe that carries human waste from plumbing fixtures to the sewer or septic tank.
  11. Trap Weir or Crown Weir:

    • The bottom of the highest point inside a trap where water forms a seal, preventing sewer gases from entering the building.
  12. Trap Dip:

    • The curved section at the bottom of a trap that retains water to create a seal against sewer gas.
  13. Trap Seal:

    • The water in a trap that prevents the escape of sewer gases.
  14. Tail Piece:

    • A short length of pipe connecting a plumbing fixture to a drain or trap.
  15. Trap Arm:

    • The horizontal pipe connecting a trap to the drain line.
  16. Self-Scouring Trap:

    • A trap designed to prevent the buildup of debris by flushing away waste.
  17. Trap Primer:

    • A device that maintains water in a trap by providing a small flow of water.
  18. Soil Stack:

    • A vertical pipe that carries waste from upper floors to the building drain.
  19. Stack Vent:

    • A vertical vent that connects with the soil or waste stack to vent the plumbing system.
  20. Vent Stack:

    • A vertical pipe that provides air circulation to the drainage system and extends above the roof.
  21. Branch Vent:

    • A vent pipe connecting to the main vent stack or soil stack.
  22. Wet Vent:

    • A vent that also serves as a drain line.
  23. Siphoning:

    • The process by which water is drawn or pulled through a pipe, potentially leading to trap seal loss and the release of sewer gases.

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