ABS Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. Black plastic used in the manufacture of DWV (drain, waste, and vent) pipe.
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act. A government criteria mandating how buildings must be constructed in order to serve the needs of disabled people.
ACRYLIC A glassy thermoplastic vacuum-formed to cast and molded shapes to form the surface of fiberglass bathtubs, whirlpools, shower bases, and shower stalls. Do not confuse with gelcoat.
AERATOR A device at the end of a faucet spout which mixes air into flowing water.
ANGLE STOP A shutoff valve between the water pipes and a faucet. Its inlet connects to the water supply pipe in a wall and its outlet ‘angles’ up 90 degrees toward the faucet, toilet, or bidet.
BALLCOCK A fill valve device in a toilet tank. A “Cock” is activated by a float “Ball” to refill tank water after a toilet is flushed.
BASIN A circular vessel with slopping or curving sides for holding water for washing.
BIDET A plumbing fixture similar to a toilet bowl used for washing genitals and posterior areas of the body. It is floor mounted, usually next to a toilet, and incorporates a washing basin, faucet and sprayer.
CAST IRON Metal which is formed by casting on molds to make some plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, lavatories and sinks. The iron form is then coated with enamel. Also DWV sewer pipe.
CENTERSET A style of bathroom lavatory faucet having combined spout and handles. Handles are 4″ from center of handle-to-handle. Also a single handle faucet installed on 4″ center-to-center faucet holes.
CISTERN An artificial reservoir for storing water. A toilet tank. This term is usually used in England.
CLOSE-COUPLED (TOILET) A modern style two-piece toilet which is configured of a separate tank and bowl. The tank is “coupled” “closely” (directly) to the bowl by bolts and a gasket. This term is to distinguish from old style low-tank toilets where the tank mounted on the wall, above and behind the bowl and was connected by a pipe called a flush ell.
COCK A faucet or valve for regulating the flow of water.
COCKHOLE COVER A round cover-plate or disk installed on a sink to cover an unused faucet hole.
COMMODE An archaic style of toilet. “A boxlike structure holding a chamber pot under an open seat.”
CONSOLE LAV A table-like fixture with an integral lavatory. The back is fixed to a wall and the front is supported by consoles (brackets) or legs.
COVER The top portion of a toilet seat. Also the top lid on a toilet’s tank.
DWV Drain, Waste and Vent. The pipes in a plumbing system that remove waste water.
DIVERTER: Valves which direct water to various outlets. They are used in showers, tub & shower combinations, bidets, Roman tub fillers and kitchen faucet sprayers.
ELONGATED The optional shape of the front of some toilet bowls. About 2″ longer than the standard “round front” bowl.
ENAMEL An opaque vitreous composition applied by fusion to the surface of metal fixtures such as cast iron tubs, lavatories and sinks .
ESCUTCHEON A flange or shield beneath a faucet handle. This part covers the faucet stem and the hole in the fixture or wall.
FIP Female Iron Pipe. Standard internal threads on pipe fittings.
FIBERGLASS Glass in a fibrous form used in making the body of products such as boats and bathtubs.
FIRECLAY A variation of vitreous china having greater amounts of quartz and feldspar in the clay material beneath the vitreous surface. Fireclay is heavier (30%), denser, and thicker than regular clay. These properties insure smooth, flat surfaces on large fixtures which is not achievable with standard vitreous china.
FITTING A broad based term usually referring to faucets, shower valves, and tub fillers. Also refers to various piping parts such as tees and elbows.
FIXTURE A broad based term usually referring to sinks, tubs, toilets, basins, etc.
GPM Gallons Per Minute. The rate of water flow by which faucets and showerheads are measured and regulated.
GELCOAT A colored, polyester resin material used to form the surface of some fiberglass bathtubs or showers. Don’t confuse with acrylic on fiberglass.
HANDSHOWER A showerhead designed with a handle that is connected to a water supply via a flexible hose.
HIGH-TANK (TOILET) An antique style of toilet configured with a separate tank and bowl in which the tank is wall mounted above head height and is connected to the bowl by a flush pipe. (AKA, pull-chain toilet.)
IPS Iron Pipe Size. Standard pipe threads. See also “FIP”, “MIP”.
JACUZZI The brand name of the original whirlpool tub. Often misused to mean any “whirlpool tub”. See also, “Whirlpool Tub”.
LAVATORY, LAVY, LAV A fixed bowl or basin with running water and drainage for washing.
LID Toilet tank lid. The removable top cover on a toilet’s tank. AKA: Cover, top.
LOW-BOY (TOILET) A slang term for a toilet style in which the tank height is lower than normal. Usually a one piece toilet. Occasionally a two piece toilet.
LOW-TANK (TOILET) An antique style toilet in which the tank is wall mounted slightly higher than the bowl but lower than the older style high-tank toilets. Tank water flows from the tank to the bowl via a flush ell.
MIP Male Iron Pipe. Standard external threads on pipe and fittings.
MINI-WIDESPREAD A special style of bathroom lavatory faucet having separate spout and handles. But designed small enough that it will fit 4″ center-to-center faucet holes.
ONE-PIECE (TOILET) An upgraded style of toilet which is configured of an integral tank and bowl which are formed as “one piece” during the manufacturing process.
OPEN FRONT A style of toilet seat rim where there is an open space about three inches wide at the front. Considered more sanitary in commercial applications where constant usage exceeds janitorial sanitation.
P. O. PLUG Plug Outlet. A style of drain outlet for lavatories. The drain outlet is closed by a rubber stopper, or “plug”.
PVC PolyVinyl Chloride. A white plastic used in the manufacture of water supply pipe.
PVD Physical Vapor Deposition. A modern plating process used in faucet manufacturing. Vaporized zirconium reacts with nitrogen and another special gas to form a durable plated surface.
POP-UP ASSEMBLY The drain mechanism of a faucet installed on a lavatory. The drain stopper “pops” up and down.
PORCELAIN A white ceramic ware that consists of kalin, quartz and feldspar. It is fired at high temperature on steel to make the surface of some bathtubs, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories.
PORCELAIN ENAMEL Vitreous enamel.
POT Slang for toilet. Possibly derived from “chamber pot”.
PRESSURE BALANCE VALVE A shower mixing valve that automatically maintains balance between incoming hot and cold water supplies by immediately regulating fluctuations in pressure. As a result the outlet temperature remains constant, though the outlet pressure may drop.
PULL-CHAIN (TOILET) An antique style of toilet configured with a separate tank and bowl in which the tank is wall mounted above head height and is connected to the bowl by a flush pipe. Due to the height of the tank location, a chain is necessary to pull the trip lever to flush the toilet. (AKA, high-tank toilet.)
RIM The inside edge of the perimeter of a toilet bowl. The lower portion of a toilet seat. The edge of a sink or lavatory.
ROUND FRONT The standard shape of the front of a toilet bowl. About 2″ shorter than the optional “elongated” bowl.
SELF RIMMING A style of bathroom lavatory or kitchen sink with a rolled and finished edge, or rim. The fixture installs on top of a counter without the need for a metal sink rim.
SINK A stationary basin connected with a drain and water supply for washing and drainage.
THERMOSTATIC VALVE A shower mixing valve with automatic temperature control. When temperature fluctuations occur at the water inlets, a thermal actuator adjusts the hot and cold ratio to maintain the original temperature setting.
TRIP LEVER The flush handle and actuating arm on a toilet tank. Also the lever that opens and closes the drain on a bathtub waste & overflow.
TWO-PIECE (TOILET) A standard style of toilet which is configured of a separate tank and bowl which are connected.
VACUUM BREAKER An anti-siphon device which prevents the backflow of non potable water into the water supply system. For example, if a handshower were left extended into a bathtub of dirty water, and a siphon effect were to occur, a vacuum breaker would prevent the tub water from traveling back into the water supply system.
VANITY A bathroom storage cabinet beneath the counter.
VESSEL A style of basin that installs partially into the counter rather than fully into the counter. The portion of the fixture rising above the counter has a finished exterior.
VITREOUS A surface material on some plumbing fixtures derived from or consisting of glass. It is low in porosity and is translucent.
VITREOUS CHINA A clay material with a vitreous surface used to manufacture some plumbing fixtures such as toilets and lavys.
WASTE & OVERFLOW The drain assembly for a bathtub. The outlet at the top removes the “overflow” water during tub filling and the drain at the bottom removes “waste” water when the tub is drained.
WATER CLOSET Toilet.
WATER HAMMER A destructive, high-pressure surge in a water supply piping system accompanying the quick closure of valves or faucets on the system. The surge causes a shock wave which vibrates the pipes causing them to bang, knock or “hammer” against the wall or floor.
WIDESPREAD A style of bathroom lavatory faucet having separate spout and handles. Usually 8″ from center of handle-to-handle. Some widespread faucets can be set with handles up to 12″ apart.
WHIRLPOOL TUB A bathtub with a whirlpool system added. The whirlpool system recirculates the tub water and mixes in air to create hydro therapy via jet inlets.