Plumbing Glossary B

For the second instalment of our plumbing glossary, we’re covering the letter B.

Read on to learn exactly what your plumber is talking about when she or he utters the following lingo.

Back pressure – pressure that resists the flow of fluid in a piping system

Back siphonage – negative pressure that causes back flow

Back vent – plumbing fixture’s separate vent in a building drainage system

Back wash – the process of cleaning a filter by reversing the flow of water through it – the dirt is sent to the waste disposal

Back flow – when water from one system backs into any part of the main distribution system

Back flow preventer – a device that stops back flow – required for sprinkler systems and handheld showers

Backjet – Whirlpool jets located on the fixture wall behind a reclining bather

Backwater valve – sewer line valve that prevents sewage flowing back into the house

Baffle – an object placed in an appliance to change the direction of the flow of air and gases

Ball check valve – a valve that uses a ball to seal against a seat to stop flow in one direction

Ball joint – spherical assembly allowing pivot rotation for many bathroom and shower accessories

Ball passage – refers to the size of the ball that can pass through the trapway of a toilet – it also relates to the trapway size

Ballcock – the fill valve that controls the flow of water from the water supply line into a gravity-operated toilet tank

Barlow’s formula – an equation which shows the relationship of internal pressure to allowable stress, nominal thickness and diameter

Barrier-free – relating to handicap access – e.g. a shower enclosure with minimal bottom track and opening to ease wheelchair access

Base – a substance that releases hydroxyl ion when dissolved in water

Basin wrench – a wrench with a long handle and jaws mounted on a swivel to reach nuts to fasten faucets on a previously installed tank

Batch feed – type of garbage disposer in which waste is fed into unit one load at a time, then activated by placing a stopper into the drain opening

Bernoulli’s law – the principle that a stream of liquid or gas exerts less sideways pressure while in motion than at rest

BHP – brake horse power – the amount of horsepower being consumed by a pump as measured on a dynamometer

Blowbag – a drain-cleaning device consisting of a rubber bladder with a hose fitting on one end and a nozzle on the other – the device attaches to a water hose and is inserted into a clogged drainpipe – as the water is introduced, it expands to grip the pipe and releases pulsating bursts of water through the nozzle, forcing water through the pip to clear an obstruction

Blowdown – partial venting or draining, under pressure of the water side of a boiler to reduce or remove unwanted contaminants

Brackish water – water containing bacteria between 1, 000 and 15, 000 ppm of dissolved solids

Butterfly valve – a serviceable valve that allows water to flow through it when open and stops the flow when closed

BX cable – metallic sheathed cable containing A/C electrical wiring – typically used when wiring would otherwise be exposed

Did you miss the first instalment of our plumbing glossary? You can read it here.

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