3 Plumbing Terms All Homeowners Should Know and Understand

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Toilet Tank — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncFrom bringing water into your home to disposing of water and waste, plumbing is a key part of your home. However, the plumbing system is not just a series of pipes that transport water and waste to and from your home — it also consists of various fixtures and appliances. While the system is important and prominent, homeowners may not fully understand each element of their plumbing or septic systems.

By knowing a few key plumbing terms, you will have a better understanding of your home’s plumbing system, the way it operates, the problems it might incur, and the best techniques to maintain it. Learn about three important plumbing terms you should know and understand.

1. Flapper

Many issues that can affect the toilet’s ability to flush in an effective and efficient manner stem from a problem with the flapper. The flapper is one of the most important parts of your toilet. It is a rubber valve that sits over the opening at the base of the toilet tank. When you flush, the chain lifts the flapper valve from the opening, allowing water to move through. Once all of the water empties from the tank, the chain releases the rubber valve, covering the opening as the water refills into the tank.

If the flapper’s chain or the actual rubber valve is worn and not sealing the opening properly after flushing, the toilet may constantly run. A running toilet can be annoying to hear, and it can also be costly as it wastes gallons of water over time. If your toilet seems to be constantly running, have the flapper assembly replaced to stop the persistent noise and waste of water.


If your home was built in between the 1930s and 1980s, the plumbing most likely consists of galvanized pipes. While thick and heavy, galvanized pipes are known to rust and corrode, eventually causing leaks in and under your home. Today, most homes consist of PVC or PEX plumbing. Understanding the differences between these materials can be helpful if and when you need to troubleshoot certain parts of your plumbing and septic systems.

PVC, or Polyvinyl chloride, is a hard-plastic material that is usually white. The material will not rust or corrode, so it is a durable option for most parts of your home. Unfortunately, PVC is not rated for extremely high temperatures, so it cannot be used to transfer hot water to any area of your home.

Cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, is similar to PVC in durability, but the material can be used for both cold and hot water lines. PEX is usually blue or red, which allows homeowners and contractors to easily distinguish from cold and hot water lines.

If you have old galvanized or even copper pipes in your home, consider upgrading to a more durable material, such as PVC or PEX. The upgrade may seem expensive, but it can be a great investment for your home.

3. P-Trap

A P-trap is found on all plumbing fixtures that have a drain. The series of pipes starts as a U-shape coming down from the bottom of a sink. Then, the pipe curves back up into the wall to create the P-shape.

Over time, food residue, grease, dirt, hair, and other debris can build up in the drain, eventually collecting in the P-trap. The P-trap also acts as a seal, reducing the risk of sewer gas and unappealing odors from seeping back up into your drains and affecting your home. If your drain is not draining quickly or it is clogged, the P-trap may be filled with buildup and debris. Make sure to contact a plumbing professional to clear your traps.

Get in Touch With Plumbing Experts

For help with your home’s plumbing, contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. at 630-964-2222. We are able to help with all of these plumbing components and more. We look forward to meeting with you, understanding your plumbing issues, and resolving them so you can enjoy functional plumbing again. Also, please let us know what questions and concerns you have, and we will happily answer them for you. Get in touch today to let us know how we can assist you.


Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.


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