Plumbing Glossary


A reversal or flowing back of the normal wastewater direction from buildings like homes and offices. This may lead to potential contamination of potable water.


An ancient alloy used in the manufacture of faucets and other plumbing fittings, mainly composed of zinc and copper. Other alloying materials in small amounts may also be added for different kinds of brass to meet the prerequisites of certain applications.


Copper is often the material used for pipes in plumbing systems. It is also a common material used in alloys to produce brass which is a key material in the production of plumbing fittings like faucets and others.


A toilet that comes with a dual-flush system offers users with high efficiency. It can be flushed with the maximum amount of water permissible by law or with much lesser water.


A plumbing fitting is designed to control and guide water flow. Some examples of fittings could be shutoff valves, faucets, shower valves, shower heads, and spouts. Fittings may also be at times referred to as fixtures. However, fixtures may actually refer to something different in the plumbing industry (see below).


Plumbing fixtures receive water or waste matter and direct it into a sanitary drainage system. Fixtures can include sinks, toilets, shower receptors, bathtubs, and water closet bowls.

Flush Valve

At the bottom of a toilet tank, there is a flush valve. Its function is to discharge the water from the tank into the bowl upon flushing.


The plumbing industry makes use of the term lavatory to refer to a washroom or bathroom that comes equipped with a washbowl and basin. For kitchen sinks, the industry simply refers to them as sinks.


Lead is a soft metal that is a common material used in plumbing systems and the term plumbing comes from the Latin word for lead. As lead is efficient in resisting pinhole leaks while remaining soft and flexible, it is used in plumbing systems to deliver water most efficiently.


The Safe Drinking Water Act section 1417(d) requires that 0.2 percent of materials be used in solders in plumbing systems to facilitate a safe level for consumption. For the manufacture of fittings, pipe, and well pumps, no more than 8 percent of materials are to be used.


Low-flow fittings and fixtures used in the plumbing industry refer to products that comply with the Energy Policy Act of 1992 water efficiency standard. This term may also be referred to as low consumption.

Potable Water

Potable water is safe for drinking, domestic, and culinary purposes.

Pressure-Assisted Toilets

Pressure-assisted toilets make use of a compressed-air tool that enhances the force of gravity which effectively cleans the toilet each time it is flushed.

Proximity Valves

These are electronic valves used for plumbing systems that facilitate a smooth operation without contact. They work in a similar manner to light sensors and auto-open doors that can be activated through movement, thus maintaining hygiene.

Ultra-Low Flow

There are ultra-low flow fittings and fixtures used in the plumbing industry which are products that go over the Energy Policy Act of 1992 water efficiency standard. The term may also be referred to as high efficiency.