Plumbing Supply Terms For New Homeowners

Plumbing Supply Terms For New Homeowners

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First-time homeowners often prefer to focus on the fun stuff, like new furniture and paint colors. Reality is you’ll need to educate yourself on some “nuts and bolts” items, too. To help you, here are some plumbing supply terms.

When you understand this terminology, it is easier to identify issues and communicate them to a professional plumber. The more you know about your home, the easier it is to take care of it and enjoy it for years to come. Enjoy the first in our series of plumbing supply terms.

Your Plumbing Supply Dictionary, Part One

Access Panel

Typically in the wall or ceiling near your fixtures, this allows access for plumbing supply service.


Refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act. These guidelines evolve and usually pertain to public facilities codes. A trend in home design, however, is called “universal design,” and incorporates many ADA recommendations into residential bathrooms.

This makes it easy for anyone to access the facilities, whether you have a chronic disability, plan to “age in place”, or simply enjoy the convenience when recovering from a surgery. These make it easier for multi-generational living, as well.


This is an inexpensive energy-saving plumbing supply item. It threads onto the end of a faucet and mixes air into the water flow. This aerates the water and allows users to experience good pressure while using less water.

Angle Stop

Usually installed before the water supply line to toilets and faucets, the angle stop is an “emergency” stop valve.  These plumbing supply devices are intended for use in case of emergency or repair, and they are not designed for daily on-and-off usage.


In a gravity-operated toilet tank, the ballcock controls the flow of water. When you flush the toilet, the float ball in the tank drops with the water level. This triggers the ballcock to open and allow water to refill. As the level of the water rises, it lifts the float ball so the ballcock can close when the tank is filled. Also known as a float valve.

“Black water”

This simply refers to wastewater from toilets.

Buchan Trap

If you have purchased an older home, you may have one of these. It’s an obsolete method of venting drains for waste water. Your plumber may also refer to it as a Bristol interceptor.


This is a style of bathroom or kitchen sink faucet with a combined spout and handles. Also refers to a single-handle fixture with four-inch center-to-center faucet holes.


You may see the abbreviation “WC” on blueprints. This stands for “water closet”, or a small room containing only a toilet.

Prevent Plumbing Supply Emergencies

Regular maintenance is easy with Estes Services. We have licensed plumbers ready to inspect your plumbing supply systems and components. We suggest an annual evaluation and flush of your hot water heater, if you use a storage tank model.

Make service super-convenient with a maintenance agreement with Estes Services. In addition to plumbing, we also offer agreements tailored to your HVAC and electrical systems. We can customize one for your whole home, too. Pricing is determined by your specific appliances and needs.

All agreements offer priority service and repair discounts to members. Call us with questions about service, repair, or installations of fixtures, hot water heaters, or whole home filtration systems.