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Plumbing Terms

You’re going to want to be prepared for what your plumber has to say about the tree roots blocking your pipes. Maybe you already talked to your plumber and you didn’t completely understand everything he said.

In any case, here’s a list of terms that may be basic to your plumber, but not so basic to you:

Backfill: Soil used to refill a trench that was dug up to excavate pipes.

Bedding: Material laid under a pipe that supports it and keeps the pipe from shifting in the soil.

Boundary Trap: A point of disconnection between your property/properties sewer and thelocal authorities  main. All your sanitary  plumbing runs to this trap. It has a water seal to stop the smell from the sewer coming back up the line.

Cement Mortar Joint: A socket joint or pipe bendmade out of cement.

Choke: A blocked drain.

Clearout: See I.O.

Conduit: A fancier word for pipe.

Defect: Decaying material, abnormality or obstruction in pipes that effects your plumbing.

Sanitary Drain: The plumbing (within your property line) that carries waste water away from your home or business. This type of drain includes any fitting or pipe that’s outside of the building.

House Drain: Plumbing, within your sanitary drain system that carries waste water from sinks, toilets, equipment and tubs. This type of drain includes any plumbing that’s inside of the building.

Drainage Diagram: A map or plan of the approved sewer lines throughout your property, available from your local water authority, usually attached to a property ”contract of sale”.

Drainoscopy: A drainoscopy is the process of surveying your drainage pipelines with a high tech purpose built camera. It really is the only way to see what is going on underground. A drainoscopy will show pipes, pipe joints, tree root penetrations, damage or even collapsed sections of pipe. A drainoscopy can be  recorded and forwarded to you via email.

Helio: Plumbers over the age of 30 refer to this. See Drainage Diagram.

Infiltration: Unintended ground or storm water that makes it’s way into the sanitary/sewer drainage system, usaully through cracks in pipes or joints, or tree root penetrations.

Installation: The creation of your network of pipes and fixtures or just your network of pipes and fixtures.

I.O. Inspection opening; a point of access into your house drains and branches.

Main: Usually owned and maintained by the local “Water authority”.

Pulling: Manually removing pipe obstruction by pulling a disk through the plumbing.

Rodding: Manually removing pipe obstruction using a system of jointed rods, like an electric eel.

Root Foam: A chemical foam mixture applied to pipes after mechanic root removal to prohibit future plant intrusion and reinforce pipes.

Root Penetration: Tree roots growing into plumbing, pipes, drains and sewers.

Rubber Ring Joint: A type of pipe joint seal that’s made out of chemically treated rubber circa; 1970-85

Sewer Main: The publicly owned pipes that carry waste water away from your property.

Sludge: Sort of the opposite of scum, this is pipe obstruction that sinks to the bottom of plumbing.

Spigot or Socket Joint: The male end of a pipe.

Sullage: Household waste water, specifically from sinks, kitchens and laundries.

Surcharge: Pipe or drain overflow cause by a combination of plumbing blockages and an abundance of rain. It could be from the main.

Surcharge Gully: An outside drain which may have a tap over. It is lower than your lowest floor drain, so that surcharge occurs here, not inside your home. It also has a water seal.


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