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Plumbing Terms All Homeowners Need to Know

Did you know that the average household’s leak waste is roughly 10,000 gallons of water per year? That’s a lot!

It is no surprise that basic knowledge of plumbing terms is an important part of homeownership. Understanding these terms can help you maintain a properly-running home plumbing system.

Fortunately, learning the basics of plumbing terms doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We’ve created a helpful guide to teach you the basic plumbing glossary you should know.

Keep reading to learn all about plumbing definitions.

Backflow and Overflow 

Backflow is a condition in which fluid goes in the opposite direction that it should because of either a plumbing issue or a pressure issue. Overflow is when the liquid in a plumbing system rises high enough that it spills out of the pipe and onto your property.

You can get help from aspen plumbing services if you are still not sure about backflow and overflow. They make sure you become an informed customer regarding plumbing terminology.


A vent is a pipe that connects various fixtures to the main stack or sewer line, allowing wastewater to leave the home efficiently. Vents also act as a pressure equalizer, preventing drains from being blocked or backed up when the water level in the sewer line rises. If vents are not properly installed by a professional plumber, they can cause plumbing issues like slow draining and even foul odors. 


A ‘trap’ is an important plumbing instrument used to prevent clogs and sewer gas from coming up from the pipes to the home. It is a curved section of pipe that creates a water seal that prevents sewer gases from coming back up to the house. 

A trap can be a P trap, made of PVC, with a curved section that looks like a “P” in shape with two open ends. It can also be an S trap, with an S shape bend, important for preventing flushing water from draining out and causing a sink overflow. A double trap forms a water seal between two straight lines of pipes.

Shut-off Valves

Shut-off valves turn off the water at different fixture and appliance locations throughout the home. Shut-off valves can help prevent flooding in the home, if there is a burst pipe or faulty appliance. They come in as gate valves or ball valves.


An auger consists of a handle, a coil, and a blade at the end of the coil, which rotates when you crank the handle. This allows it to cut through clogs, such as tree roots and mineral deposits, that can’t be broken down with chemical cleaners or plungers. 


Flapper is the most common type of flush valve on toilets which used to be the traditional method for releasing water from the tank and is also called a “toilet flapper”. This device works when you press the button, the flapper opens and allows water stored in the tank to quickly rush into the bowl. This is an important part of the flushing process and should be checked regularly by homeowners. 

Master These Plumbing Terms Today

Homeowners should be aware of common plumbing terms and their definitions to be prepared to explain issues to a plumber. Familiarize yourself with terms like backflow and overflow, vent, trap, shut-off valves, augers, and flapper. 

Mastering this plumbing terminology will also help you make informed decisions when selecting plumbing fixtures for your home. It can help you reduce stress when a plumbing issue arises. 

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