Plumbing terms

When something goes wrong with your plumbing or heating, you may hear a lot of terms that you are not very familiar with. Here is list of common plumbing terms and their definitions.

Thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) A Radiator control valves which automatically opens and closes as necessary to achieve the pre-set room air temperature.

Heat exchange – The unit that transfers the heat from the burner to the water. In Combi boilers and Multipoint heaters these generally have a low water volume.

Ball cock – A valve used to control the flow of water into a tank or cistern, the valve being controlled by a float on the surface of the water in the tank/cistern. AKA Float Operated Valve.

Combination boiler – AKA “combi” – a unit that combines both a central heating water heat exchanger and a domestic water heater in one compact, self-contained unit. Unlike a vented heating and hot water system, a combi does not store hot water, rather it heats water as and when required either directly from the cold mains (for the domestic hot water) or within a pressurised ‘sealed’ central heating loop.

O-ring – A circular rubber sealing ring – often found in mixer taps and in waste pipe fittings.

Stop cock – A hand operated on/off valve permitting water flow in one direction.

U-bend – A form of trap – often used to refer to a WC trap. It holds water and stops foul air returning back up the pipe.

S-bend – A form of trap used under basins, baths etc.

Power shower – A shower using a pump to boost the flow of water to give a powerful shower spray. Generally used where there is insufficient water pressure on gravity fed water supplies.

Bleed valve – An air release valve used to release air from a central heating system – found on all water radiators and sometimes at high points in the pipework.

So the next time something goes wrong with your plumbing or central heating hopefully now you will understand some of the terms.

There's more