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Plumbing In-Home Training

Course 1: Introduction to Basic Plumbing Systems

601: Introduction to Basic Plumbing Systems

Table of Contents
I. Introduction ............................................................................................................. 3 II. Understanding a Basic Household Water Supply................................................... 3 III. Basic DWV (Drain, Waste, and Vent) Systems ..................................................... 4 Basic Features of a Plumbing DWV and Water Supply System................ 6 IV. Traps and Thinwall Tubing ................................................................................... 7 Cut-Away of a Vanity and Sink-top with a P-Trap.................................... 7 V. General Notes About Selling Plumbing Projects.................................................... 8 VI. Basic Plumbing Terminology ................................................................................. 8 VII. Introduction to a Basic Plumbing System Test .................................................. 17

I. Introduction
Water is the most basic essential of life. Therefore, a continuous clean source of water is required to maintain life and society as we know it. Apart from the purpose of consumption, water also supplies us with the means of sanitation and removal of waste products from our homes. This primary introductory course introduces you to basic plumbing systems and provides plumbing terminology that you will encounter throughout the rest of the In-Home Training Plumbing courses. Most of the Guests that you encounter will have a specific problem or project that they wish to solve or complete. To sell them the complete project, you will need to understand how basic plumbing systems work. This will come into play when you ask the Guest specific questions about the project. This is the only way to ensure that you and a Guest have a mutual understanding of the project. Lets briefly look at how water is supplied and how waste is removed from a residence. If you live in a city, the water used within your home is probably supplied from a local public water utility. In this case, water is pumped from the ground or surface and sent to a treatment center where it is cleansed and stored in towers or reservoirs for distribution to the homes within your city. If you live in a rural setting, your freshwater will probably come directly from the earth via an individual pump and storage system for your home only. The removal of waste from your home will also vary depending on where you live. If you live in the city, the liquid and solid waste (sewage) will flow from your home into a public sewer system that leads to a waste treatment facility. From here, the sewage is broken down into solids and liquids. The solids will be separated out and the liquids will be purified and released into the environment where its cycle will begin again. If you live in a rural setting, you will have a septic system. A septic system is a waste storage and recycling center serving one residence. It is normally a concrete or plastic tank buried within the earth. The purpose of the septic system is to retain solid waste in the septic tank and allow the liquid waste or effluent waste to flow out of the septic tank and into a septic leach field. The solid waste is periodically pumped out by a septic removal service, transported away and disposed of. The effluent waste flowing from the septic tank out into a septic leach field begins a natural filtering process where water is filtered out of the effluent waste as it seeps through several layers of dirt, sand, and rock. Over time, the water is cleansed and will eventually make its way back to the water table where it will begin the cycle again. The following pages will go into more detail on typical water supply and waste removal systems. Note: Bolded words are defined at the end of this course.

II. Understanding a Basic Household Water Supply

As noted in the introduction, water is supplied to a home by means of a local water utility or from a private well. The starting point for the household water system is called the water main. The water main is the piping that enters the home from the local water utility or private well. This pipe is commonly constructed of copper, polyethylene (poly pipe) or galvanized iron and is normally 1 or 1 in diameter. This single cold water main line runs into a water meter that would measure the households consumption of water in gallons for billing purposes. The piping then runs out of the water meter in 1 or 1 diameter and is reduced to diameter near the location of the water heater. With the diameter of the pipe reduced to diameter, water pressure for the entire water supply system will be increased. The cold water main line continues on to the water heater, softener or filter. The water heater is a required plumbing appliance in a

home. Water filters and softeners are optional. The Guest will want to test the water supply or obtain a water quality report from the water utility to determine if a softener or filter is needed for their home. Our recommendation is to always use some type of filter for drinking water. A basic household water supply will have a single cold water main line coming from the water meter, which branches off to the water heater using a tee fitting. One branch from the tee fitting flows into the cold water inlet of the water heater and the other branch of the tee continues to serve as the cold water supply for the rest of the home. The Hot outlet on the water heater is the source of hot water for the entire home. Copper, CPVC, and PEX piping are commonly used in the industry today as the primary water piping for hot and cold water supply lines throughout the home. The piping within the home will be comprised of three standard diameters. The larger diameter pipe is used as trunk line (also called feeder line) that will supply the volume of water needed for several diameter pipes. The diameter pipes will serve as branch lines. The diameter branch lines will then run through the walls or floors to bathroom or kitchen fixtures like sinks, toilets, bathtubs or showers. For all sinks and toilets, the diameter line runs through the walls or floors and is typically connected to a decorative shutoff valve or fitting. At this valve or fitting, the diameter of the piping is again reduced to diameter tubing and goes directly to the sinks and toilets in the home. For a bathtub or shower, the volume of water is more of an issue than the pressure. This being the case, diameter piping is typically plumbed directly into a shower or bathtub faucet. Reducing the pipe diameter causes a build-up of pressure within the water line. Years ago, galvanized iron water lines were used for both the hot and cold water supply lines. Due to the shorter life span of galvanized iron pipe and the many advances in plastics over the past decades, galvanized iron piping is typically not used in new construction or in remodel applications. On the other hand, one of the newest forms of tubing is known as PEX tubing. This tubing is an ideal replacement or transition system for galvanized iron, copper, or CPVC water lines. It can be used for both hot and cold water and provides the Guest with improved durability and flexibility over galvanized iron, copper, and CPVC water lines. Note: When referring to pressure in a plumbing line, the abbreviation PSI will often follow a numerical value. PSI simply denotes Pounds Per Square Inch. This term is used often throughout the In-Home Training Plumbing courses to express the amount of pressure being exerted on piping, etc. Page 6 shows a basic diagram of the path of water supply lines in a home.

III. Basic DWV (Drain, Waste, and Vent) Systems

The removal of wastewater and solid wastes (sewage) from the home is as important as getting water to the home. Sewage is the combination of wastewater and organic solid waste. The term DWV system refers to a system of Drain, Waste, and Vent pipes that work together to carry sewage from a home. The most basic element of a DWV system is that it works through the force of gravity, not through pressurization. In order for gravity to remove waste from a DWV system, there must be a continuous source of air in the system for the waste to flow away. If adequate air is not supplied to the drain lines or pipes, drains will not promptly flush out and will be more susceptible to clogging. A good example of this is a straw in a glass of water. Take a glass of

water and a straw stick the straw into the water now take your thumb and place it over the end of the straw. Pull the straw out of the glass of water and you will notice that the majority of the water does not run out. The water cannot freely flow out of the straw because it is air locked. If you remove your thumb from the straw, air rushes into the straw allowing gravity to pull the water out. A plumbing DWV system works in a similar manner. Poor or clogged ventilation lines in a DWV system will cause sinks, tubs, etc. to drain slowly. To easily understand the construction of a typical DWV system, we will start where the DWV system enters the city sewer line or septic tank. In most cases, the piping leading from the city sewer line or septic tank back to the home will be one of the following materials: Cast Iron, Clay (older homes), ABS, or PVC piping. The typical pipe diameter is either 4 or 6. This piping enters the home through the lowest level. At this point the piping would bend and then extend straight up through all levels of the home and out through the roof of the home. This length of piping is referred to as the main stack. The main stack provides the pathway for the sewage to flow out of the home, as well as the main source of air into the DWV system. All drain and vent lines come back to and tap into this main stack. The typical drain line sizes are as follows: Bathroom, kitchen, laundry sinks = 1 or 1 diameter, Bathtubs, Showers, or piping leading from 2 or more 1 drains = 2 diameter, Toilets or piping leading from 2 or more 1 or 2 drains = 3 or 4 diameter. Vent lines are typically 1 or 2 diameter and supply air to the DWV system A DWV system should be vented in order to let gases escape, to balance air pressure in the system, and to prevent water from backing up fixtures into each other. For waste to properly flow along a horizontal drain line, the pipe should slope downward at the rate of at least per foot for pipe diameters of 1-2 and per foot for pipe diameters of 3-6. The piping itself is typically ABS, PVC, cast iron, and galvanized iron or in some cases DWV copper. ABS, PVC, and cast iron are the three most commonly found forms of DWV piping. All plumbing DWV lines that are main lines, or will be enclosed within walls or the structure of the home, must have a wall thickness rating equal to or above Schedule 40. Plumbing drain lines that will not be encased within a wall can be a thinner plastic or metal material that is easily assembled / disassembled for clog removal and replacement by the homeowner. These types of materials are referred to as thin wall (plastic or metal) piping and will attach to the Schedule 40 (or thicker) piping enclosed within the wall with special fittings known as slip joint adapters. Note: Basic features of a drain waste and vent system can be examined on the next page.

Basic Features of a Plumbing Drain, Waste, Vent and Water Supply System

Roof flashing

Hot Water Supply main line then branching off into supply lines going to water fixtures.

Kitchen (backside) Sink/cabinet

Bathroom (backside) Bathroom (backside) Toilet vanity/sink bathtub Toilet - vanity/sink - bathtub Vent piping for DWV system Typically 1 or 2 in diameter

Water Heater Water Main

Cold water supply Runs from water meter typically as 1or 1, Tees into water heater-then continues on as a main line then like the Hot side branches off in supply lines to fixtures.

Drain Piping For DWV System Typically 1 or 2 in diameter (For individual drain lines) Waste piping for DWV System Typically 3 or 4 in diameter (For toilets or multiple drain lines) Main Stack: typically 4 or 6 in diameter (carries sewage away from the home, is also the main supply of air into the DWV system).

City Sewer Line

Water Meter Hot Water Lines Cold Water Lines


Indicates DWV fitting joint Vent Lines

Indicates water pressure fitting joint Drain Lines Household Sewer Main

Notes: Hot and Cold water lines would be Copper, Galvanized Iron, CPVC, or PEX pipe. All DWV pipe will be either Schedule 40 PVC, cast iron, galvanized iron, copper, clay (for service lateral), or a mix of the these materials. This example is one basic installation. The Guest will need to check local plumbing codes for installation requirements in their area.

IV. Traps and Thinwall Tubing

Now that we have discussed the basic workings of a DWV system, lets look at an important safeguard of the DWV system called a drain trap. The main purpose of a drain trap is to prevent sewer gas from entering the home. A trap must be located near every plumbing fixture that is part of the DWV system. This includes all kitchen, lavatory, laundry, bar, bathtub, and shower drains. A trap is formed by curving the plumbing pipe near the fixture, creating a water barrier that sewer gas cannot pass through. For all sink applications, the two most common traps are a P-Trap and S-Trap. The P-trap would be used where the drain line passes through a wall and the S-Trap would be used where the drain line passes through a floor. Traps located in the open or not encased within a wall or structure of the house are assembled with thin wall plastic or metal tubing. The thin wall plastic tubing offers long life where the metal offers a decorative look for exposed drain lines that are found on pedestal or wall mounted sinks. Either one of the two materials will easily hook up to PVC-DWV Schedule 40 piping with the use of a slip joint adapter. An example of a P-trap is shown below. Traps must be used for all drains except for toilets as they have traps built into the base portion of the toilet.

Cut-Away of a Vanity and Sink Top with a P-Trap

P-trap assembly (shown). With an S-trap, the thinwall piping would curve down 90 more to drain through the floor instead of through the wall. Both types of traps are sold as kits or by individual pieces. PVC Schedule 40 pipe continues up past drain level to vent vanity sink ties main stack drain INTO vent pipe.

Tail piece from sink

Schedule 40 T-Fitting

PVC Schedule 40 pipe-running down to interconnect with other drain lines.

Slip-joint adapter or thin wall adapter (joins schedule 40 PVC to thin wall piping)

When faucet is turned on, water flows through the drain assembly, when the water is turned off, some water remains in the drain line up to this point forming a barrier against sewer gases.

PVC Schedule 40 pipe stub coming from T-fitting.


V. General Notes About Selling Plumbing Projects

When a Guest comes to you with questions about plumbing, keep in mind that he/she is asking you to help them solve a problem. With this in mind, you need to know the functions of the products and be able to explain how they work. When helping a Guest with a plumbing project, be sure to sell them the products for a complete installation. If you are not sure of what you are selling or what the Guest is asking for, get your Department Manager involved never guess or assume. Ask the Guest questions this will show that you genuinely care about the problem/project. It will also ensure that you and the Guest are on the same page as far as the goal of the project. Be patient; take the time to clarify what the Guest is looking for so that you can supply him/her with all of the items they will need to complete the project. This is not being a pushy salesperson. Remember, you are helping them solve a problem; so, make sure the Guest gets everything needed on the first trip. By doing this, the Guest will appreciate the help that you have supplied and will look to Menards for help with their next project. Uniform Plumbing Codes, International Plumbing Codes or State Plumbing Codes are publications that define a body of standards for safe plumbing procedures and materials used for creating / maintaining a sanitary plumbing system. These standards, or similar standards from other code councils, apply to all areas in varying degrees. Local inspectors have the option of requiring additional or similar provisions to the above mentioned codes. The local inspector has the final say on all materials and installation methods of all plumbing projects. With this in mind, we must NOT infer, suggest or quote codes to Guests. It is the Guests responsibility to know what the code requirements are for the project, not yours. Again, your role is to explain what the product is used for and how it works. If the Guest appears to be in doubt, politely suggest that they consult with their local plumbing inspector to clarify what is required for their project.

The upcoming courses will go into more detail on the various items typically used to complete plumbing projects, as well as commonly asked questions and typical installations for the items.

VI. Basic Plumbing Terminology

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) ABS (black) is one of two types of DWV plastic tubing, the other type of plastic tubing is PVC (white). ABS pipe, like PVC pipe is gauged by a schedule rating, in our case, we stock Schedule 40. ABS piping is joined by solvent welding, threading or flanging. When solvent welding, PVC requires a primer, with ABS-primer is never used, but the Guest should still use a cleaner.

Access Panel

Opening in a wall or ceiling that provides access to the plumbing system. The opening would normally be covered with a decorative, removable panel.

According to CodeThis statement is used to refer the Guest to the Uniform, International, State or Local Plumbing Code. These Plumbing Codes are a body of standards that define safe plumbing procedures and materials. Local codes can be added on to Uniform, International, or State Plumbing codes or safely substitute for various standards. It is the Guests responsibility to know what these codes are for their particular application not yours. It is your responsibility to know the products and their applications. If the Guest is in doubt about what material or procedures they should be using, always refer them to the local Plumbing authority in their area. Appliance (Plumbing) Auger ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) Ballcock Ball Valve Powered device that uses water such as a water heater, dishwasher, washing machine, etc. Flexible tool used for clearing obstructions in drain lines. An organization that applies a grade designation for standardized materials like: PVC, CPVC, PEX, Copper, and Galvanized tubing denoting that the tubing meets the guideline size and wall thickness specifications for its material type.

A valve that controls the flow of water into a toilet tank. A valve that uses a drilled ball that fits tightly against a resilient (flexible) seat in the valve body. Ball valves are designed for unobstructed flow, and are used for the same applications as gate valves. They provide a bubble tight seal and open/close with a 90 turn of the lever vs. several turns of a handle. The enlarged portion on the end of a pipe that allows another section of pipe to be inserted into it.

Bell End

Boiler Drain Valve A valve that is designed to provide quick drainage for water heaters and boilers. Branch Drain Line Pipe that connects additional lines to a drain system. Branch Line Capillary Action Pipe that connects additional lines to a water supply system. The drawing action of the flow of solder, caused by flux and heat, into the space between the outside diameter of the tubing and the inside diameter of the connecting fitting.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is a heavy material dark in color that is used as the primary drain, waste, and vent tubing in older homes and in certain markets. One end of the pipe typically has a hub formed into it to accept another length of cast iron. Cast iron is typically joined together by packing the hub joint with Oakum and sealing compound or molten lead. Cast Iron can be joined to ABS or PVC by using a flexible connector that would couple the two different materials together to add or repair a drain, waste or vent line. Allows the flow of water in one direction only; a swinging disk (SWING CHECK VALVE) or a spring-loaded disk (LIFT CHECK VALVE) falls back onto a seat when fluid reverses direction within a water supply line or drain line. An older form of sewer piping that is made of a clay material. In older homes, this piping might be found running from the home to the city sewer system or septic tank. Cover in a waste pipe or trap that provides access for cleaning in drain lines. Flexible rod used to clear obstructions in toilets. Ring at the opening of a toilet drain, secured to the floor-used as a mounting base for a toilet.

Check Valve

Clay (Piping)


Closet Auger Closet Flange

Compression Fitting A method of joining soft copper, rigid copper or plastic tubing together or to a fixture like a sink or toilet. Compression connections are made by cutting the tubing squarely and sliding the nut and sleeve onto the tubing. Insert tubing into the fitting until it bottoms out. Tighten with wrench 1 turns. With plastic tubing, a compression insert may be needed to prevent the tubing from splitting when the assembly is tightened. A compression insert is a brass tube that would slide into the tubing to support the tubing when the compression ring is cinched onto it. Copper Tubing Copper tubing is a staple of the plumbing industry and is commonly used for routing water to any or all portions of the home. Copper tubing is available in rigid lengths or coils of soft, flexible tubing. Copper tubing is also a graded material by wall thickness. Just like PVC and its schedule rating, copper tubings wall thickness is signified alphabetically by referring to a type, i.e. Type M copper tubing is considered the standard, where type L copper tubing has a thicker wall. Fitting that connects two pieces of pipe. CPVC is a plastic alternative to a copper pressure piping system. It has the same dimensions as copper tube and fittings. CPVC is a form of plastic,

Coupling CPVC (Chlorinated


Polyvinyl Chloride)

which is suitable for Hot and Cold water supplies. CPVC is rated at 180 at 100 PSI. The maximum temperature is 210. CPVC is joined together by solvent welding. When solvent welding CPVC, a primer should always be used. CPVC and its solvent weld fittings are tan in color. CPVC is not for compressed air service. Culvert is a larger diameter of tubing that is used to channel large volumes of water from one area to the next. They are typically found in neighborhoods where curb and street gutter systems are not in place and ditches along a road exist. A culvert in this case would be placed in the ditch where a driveway exists to allow rainwater to pass through/under the driveway, rather than letting water pool up in yards or on roads. We stock various diameters in 20 lengths. Selection will vary by store type. A black corrugated (rigid) tubing commonly made of plastic that is used to channel water from one area to another or to remove water from one area and disperse it throughout the length of the tubing. This tubing is available in solid form (to channel water) or slotted (to disperse water). We stock this material in most stores in the following diameters: 2 (yard drain kit), 3 and 4. It is also available in lengths of 10, 100, and 250. Coils longer than 250 are available through special order. We also stock a version of the slotted tubing which comes with a sock or sleeve around the pipe to prevent dirt/sediment from building up in the pipe. This is recommended around the foundation of homes. Individual socks are also available for regular drain tile. Selection of these items varies by store type. The primary system for removing sewage from a home or building. The waste is moved along a system of pipes (drain and waste) and carried into a city sewer system or a private septic system. A vent system must be installed in conjunction with the drain and waste system to allow the flow of air into the drain and waste pipes. A DWV system works through the force of gravity not through pressurization. The main pipe in the house that runs from the city sewer system vertically to the top of the house to allow drainage at the bottom end and airflow at the top of the system. The combination of liquid sewage waste and gray water. Angled fitting that changes the direction of a pipe.


Drain Tile

DWV (Drain Waste and Vent)

DWV Stack

Effluent (Waste) Elbow

Flapper (Tank Ball) A flexible seal that controls the flow of water from a toilet tank to a toilet bowl.



The mating of two drilled circular flat surfaces using a fiber gasket by aligning matching holes and tightening by the surfaces (drawing them together) using nuts and bolts. Describes an installation method of joining soft copper tubing together. A flaring nut is slid onto the tubing, then a flaring tool is used to flare a rim around the end of the tubing. Then the nut is slid to the flared rim and secured onto a flare fitting. Paste applied to metal joints before soldering to aid in the cleaning and bonding process of soldering.


Flux (Soldering Paste)

Frostproof Faucets An outdoor faucet with a long water shaft that would run through the foundation of a home. Designed to stop the flow of water in the heated interior of the home, so water within the faucet shaft will not freeze, expand, and split the tubing causing potential water damage to the home. Gate Valve A valve that allows unrestricted flow of water, which controls the flow of water by a wedge that fits into a seat. The valve is designed to work when fully opened or closed. For applications that require restricted or reduced flow of water. When water is passed through the valve it changes directions, causing reduced flow and pressure. Used water flowing from a sink, bathtub, shower, or laundry tub. Hand tool with flexible shaft used for clearing obstructions/clogs in drain lines. A faucet valve that has threading to accept a hose/fitting (i.e. a garden or utility hose). Typically the measurement of plumbing pipes - our rigid pipe is all referred to by inside diameter. O.D. (Outside Diameter) is also referred to on some types of flexible tubing. We sell iron piping in two styles: galvanized (silver) for water lines and black for gas lines. Our galvanized water line is rated at Schedule 40 and is commonly sold as replacement water line. Galvanized piping is an older style of water line vs copper, CPVC, PVC, and PEX tubing. Galvanized water lines have a shorter life expectancy than the alternative water lines listed above. Galvanized iron fittings and lengths are joined together by threading. Galvanized piping can be used for air compressor supply lines. Black iron is commonly used for gas line and is not acceptable for use with water.

Globe Valve

Gray Water Hand Auger (Snake) Hose Bib

I.D. (Inside Diameter)

Iron Piping


Main Shutoff Valve A valve that controls the water supply to an entire system typically next to the water meter. Nipple NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) A length of pipe with threaded ends. NSF is an organization that rates plumbing piping and other products for a particular use, i.e. piping for carrying waste water would have a stamp on it that would read NSF-DWV, and piping for carrying a potable (drinkable) water supply would read NSF-PW. A packing material used in cast iron joints to help create a seal.


O.D. Another common measurement of plumbing pipes. Tubing/Pipe (Outside Diameter) sizes may be stated by I.D. (Inside Diameter) or O.D. (Outside Diameter) or both. Make sure to clarify what the Guest has or is looking for when selling tubing and fittings. PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) PEX tubing is a newer form of hot and cold water supply line, which is normally sold in larger coils. PEX tubing offers several advantages over galvanized, copper, and CPVC tubing such as longer length, flexibility, resistance to freezing/splitting, and crush resistance. PEX tubing is joined together and connected to its fittings by using permanent crimp rings and fittings or removable fittings. When the joint being assembled is going to be encased within a wall, permanent crimp rings and fittings must be used. If the connections are going to be left well within sight and in the open, simple push and turn fittings or crimp rings/fittings may be used. A soft, flexible water resistant material used to seal out water between two surfaces, i.e. sealant between the sink drain and sink itself, or between the sink and countertop. Plumbers putty should not be used on cultured marble or plastic. Note: We do offer a plumbers putty from Hercules called Sta-Put Ultra that can be used on all surfaces. Poly pipe is a plastic tubing that is black in color and is used for a variety of applications from irrigation to water supply tubing for outbuildings, pumps, etc. This piping has a color-coded printing on it that distinguishes the different type of tubing. Yellow = irrigation uses only - not for drinking water 100 PSI, Blue = okay for drinking water 100 PSI, Green = okay for drinking water 125 PSI, Red = okay for drinking water 160 PSI. Note: Any water tubing that carries potable water will have an NSF stamp on the tubing - without the stamp, the tubing would be considered irrigation only. Typical coil size is 100 long, selection will vary by store. Water that is considered free of most impurities and suitable for consumption by humans.

Plumbers Putty

Poly Pipe

Potable Water



Strong solvent used to penetrate/soften the pipe and joint surfaces in preparation for the application of solvent cement. Primer can be clear or tinted purple in color.

PVC Schedule 40 PVC Schedule 40 (white) is a form of plastic that is used as an (White in color alternative to a copper cold water supply or as an alternative for cast iron, Polyvinyl Chloride) copper, or galvanized drain, waste, and vent pipes. Smaller diameters of PVC (1) is pressure piping that can be used as cold water supply, irrigation tubing, or in swimming pools, spas, etc. Larger diameters (16) lengths of PVC are commonly used in non-pressure applications such as Drain, Waste and Vent tubing. Some of our larger diameters of PVC piping are dual rated for DWV or Cold water supply. The piping would have an NSF stamp on it showing its approved applications. The NSF stamp would read NSF-PW for water supply, and NSF-DWV for drain, waste and vent applications. PVC piping is not suitable for compressed air service. PVC piping and its fittings are white in color and are commonly joined to fittings by solvent welding. When solvent welding, primer should be used on all connections. PVC Schedule 80 (Grey in color) Schedule 80 is the heavy duty version of schedule 40 PVC with a thicker wall thickness. The higher pressure capability for Schedule 80 is most commonly used in agricultural, commercial and industrial applications. The increased durability of the pipe is desired due to higher pressures demands and corrosive environments found in some water distribution systems. A fitting that is used to connect pipes of different sizes. An assembly of water pipe and fittings used to distribute water upwards. A valve that clamps onto a water line containing a hollow spike in the stem used for piercing the water line to divert a small water supply to an appliance, typically a refrigerator ice maker or furnace mount humidifier, etc. A fitting that joins DWV pipes; allows solid material to pass through without clogging. A vent or heel fitting would have a smaller turning radius than a regular DWV fitting as it would be used for supplying air to the DWV system and not for solid wastes. A pipe sizing system referring to the wall thickness of pipe. Schedule 40 is common; Schedule 80 would be considerably thicker. An SDR rating on a pipe is similar to a schedule rating on a pipe. It is intended to reflect the wall thickness of the piping (i.e. we stock a line of PVC pipe with an SDR rating of 21 for thickness).

Reducer Fitting Riser Saddle Valve

Sanitary Fitting


SDR (Size Diameter Ratio)


Septic System

Consists of an underground tank and a system of pipes fanning out from the tank. As the waste flows from the house and into the tank, solids settle on the bottom and liquids flow out through a pipe system into a septic leach field. A valve that controls the hot or cold water supply for one fixture or appliance. Compression style faucet used on the outside of a home in non-freezing climates. Frost proof faucets would be required in freezing climates. A fitting commonly constructed of PVC that is used to connect thin wall tubing to ABS, PVC, or into a threaded connection. Sometimes referred to as a trap-adapter. Also commonly referred to as the Main Stack Vent main vertical drain line that carries waste from all branch drain lines to a sewer line. Metal Alloy used for permanently joining metal (usually copper) pipes. The standard method of joining copper tubing to fittings involves cleaning, fluxing, and the application of heat and solder to joints. Also commonly called sweating. In the plastic piping field, a solvent cement chemically softens the surfaces being bonded so that the bonded assembly becomes essentially one piece of the same type of plastic. The end result is it acts as an adhesive that chemically solvent welds ABS, PVC and CPVC pipe and fittings together. The process of applying primer (in some cases) and solvent cement to bond plastic tubing to a fitting essentially creating one piece of the same type of plastic. A valve that is used to regulate or isolate the flow of water to appliances, fixtures or faucets. These are designed for frequent opening and closing. A valve that is commonly used to regulate or isolate the flow of water to appliances, fixtures or faucets. Durable design for frequent opening and closing. Valves in this group have a drain cap threaded onto a small nipple, which allows the user to drain the downstream system without shutting off the entire water run. Pipe fitting shaped like the letter T used for creating or joining branch supply or drain lines.

Shutoff Valve


Slip Joint Adapter

Soil Stack

Solder Soldering

Solvent Cement

Solvent Welding

Stop Valve

Stop and Waste Valve




Cutting threads into a piece or length of tubing to twist a fitting onto or to twist the pipe into a fitting. Commonly galvanized pipe may need to be cut to a special length (other than what we stock) and have a male thread cut into it. A die kit or a threading machine along with thread cutting oil would be required. PVC, CPVC, and Copper have Male and Female threaded fittings, which can be soldered or solvent welded onto a length of tubing. Curved section of drain line, filled with standing water, prevents sewer gases from entering the home. A fitting that joins two sections of pipe. Can be disconnected without cutting the pipe. Attachment for faucets that prevents non-potable water from entering supply lines if the water pressure were to drop suddenly (i.e. this will not allow water to flow from a garden hose back into a faucet or from a utility hose back into a laundry faucet, etc.). The combination of effluent waste and clear water wastes. Industry name for a toilet. A shock wave in a plumbing pipe, typically caused by water slamming into a quick closing valve (such as a solenoid valve found on washing machines, dish washers, etc.). Regular faucets can also induce water hammer. The effects of water hammer are typically heard as a banging noise within pipes where the water hammer has occurred. The solution to this is a water hammer arrester that we sell in various styles. An arrester is placed in the hot and cold plumbing lines of the offending fixture, and will absorb the shock wave from the water. A device supplied by the local water utility to measure the gallons of freshwater consumed by a household for billing purposes. Pipe that serves as a drain for one fixture, and a vent for another. Fitting shaped like the letter Y, used for creating or joining branch lines.



Vacuum Breaker (Also commonly referred to as an ANTI-SIPHON) Waste Water Water Closet Water Hammer

Water Meter

Wet Vent Y-Fitting