Plumbing trade jargon

Jargon by trade
Airlock

A blockage in a water pipe caused by a trapped bubble of air.

Back-to-wall

A toilet or bidet where the pan is fitted directly to the wall, with the pipework or cistern concealed behind a wall.

Bar

The unit that water pressure is measured in.

Bleed valve

A valve that releases air from the central heating system, or removes liquid from a tank or tube.

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Boiler

An enclosed vessel in which water or other fluid is heated, used to heat water in a home and provide heating via radiators.

Bottle trap

A unit which sits under a basin and holds water, as a barrier to gasses coming back through the pipes.

Cap

To close off an electrical or plumbing system.

Chase

A trench cut into plaster or masonry to make space for electrical cabling or pipework.

Cistern

A tank used for holding water, for example to supply taps or a toilet.

Close-coupled WC

A toilet where the cistern sits directly behind the pan, usually controlled with a button flush.

Flow rate

The volume of water delivered to a tap, measured in either litres per minute (l/m) or litres per second (l/s).

Flue

A duct or pipe for used within a chimney to direct heat and smoke upwards from the stove or fireplace.

Grey water

The waste water from all domestic use, excluding toilet waste water.

Hard water

Water that has a high concentration of ions such as calcium and magnesium, and leaves behind more mineral deposits such as limescale.

Isolating valve

A valve which shuts off water to a particular room or outlet.

Main water valve

Also known as main shutoff valve; The central water valve that prevents water from going into a house's plumbing.

Soft water

Water that has a low concentration of ions such as calcium and magnesium, and leaves behind fewer mineral deposits such as limescale.

Stopcock

A hand operated valve allowing water to flow in one direction, found where the water supply enters the house.

Supply pipe

The pipe that carries mains water into the home, connected to a communication pipe which brings water from the mains and up to the property boundary. Responsibility for the pipe is split between the water company and the homeowner.

Tank

A closed container.

Trap

Also called a bottle trap, a unit which sits under a basin and holds water, as a barrier to gasses coming back through the pipes.

Vent pipe

The pipe that leads outside, for the release of air or water from a hot water system.

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