Express Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

Communicating with your plumber is crucial to your successful repair. You may gather a better understanding of the plumbing fundamentals by becoming acquainted with the plumbing lingo. Countless plumbing terms are used to make a plumber’s job simpler. However, that can often result in a communication barrier with our clients. Express Plumbing Service wants to break that barrier and wants you to work with a plumber that you can trust to keep you informed. So, here is some plumbing lingo that you may see or hear!

Snaking your lines:

When a blockage occurs, you could end up with toilets, sinks, and tubs that are slow to drain. Many times the only way to remove the blockage is by power or snake auger. A snake compares to a rotating cutting head attached to some springy cord. So this will clear the line and wind its way through.


This is a blast of high-pressure water. Jetting scours and cleans the insides of pipes. Basically, it cleans out buildup or blockages from clogged sewer lines. Also, it can help prevent future clogs by maintaining your pipes.

Wax ring:

Between the floor flange and toilet is a seal to prevent leakage and fumes.


This happens when water flow is reversed in a pipeline or plumbing system. It can contaminate drinking water with undrinkable water.

Check Valve:

This is a type of backflow prevention. They prevent water from reversing its direction. Basically, check valves to keep water flowing in one direction.

Clean Out:

This is an opening placed in a drainage line. The clean-out allows for drain cleaning equipment to easily clear out a drain or line blockage.

Plumber’s Putty:

This is a clay-like substance. It is used to seal joints, fixture bases, and other areas that may be exposed to unpressurized water.

Shutoff Valve:

This valve is used to shut off the water supply for a sink or toilet. Also, the main shut-off valve turns off water to the whole house.


These drains prevent the overfilling of a fixture. For example, the small hole near the top of the bathroom sink connects to the sink drain. So this prevents the basin from flooding onto the floor.


This is a sink drainpipe in the shape of a “p”. These run from the sink and down through the floor to the main drain piping. The shape traps a small quantity of water in the pipe. Basically, this prevents sewer odors from entering the house.

Pilot light:

The pilot light is a small gas flame. It is used to ignite a larger burner. The gas valve must be turned on to ignite the burner. You will find these in gas water heaters.

We hope that this has helped shed some light on some of the more commonly used terms in the plumbing industry. If you are ever unsure of the meaning behind what your plumber is telling you, don’t hesitate to ask questions! We want you to feel safe and confident in the service we provide you!

Brad Jordan

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