GLOSSARY OF TERMS

A

ABS

Stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene which is a black plastic used in plumbing vents and drains.

Accent lighting

Light with narrow focus on a design feature or artwork. Can highlight any element of interior design and adds visual interest to a room.

ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act: This legislation provides regulations regarding accessible bathroom facilities in public areas. The ADA designation also serves to identify products and fixtures for homeowners who require facilities that can accommodate users with limited mobility.

Adjustable hot limit stop

An anti-scalding device that restricts hot water output in single-control faucets and shower valves by limiting the swing to the hot side.

Accessibility

Ease of using or approaching an area, room, or facility. Commonly used in the bath and kitchen industry to denote whether or not mobility challenged users can make use of a fixture, room or feature.

Aerator

Device in the faucet spout that mixes air with water. It is screwed into the end of the faucet spout and mixes air into flowing water and controls flow to reduce splashing.

Aging in place

Staying in one's home without loss of safety or convenience. Aging in place design provides attractive, safe room and fixture alterations, additions and accommodations to support this principle.

Air gap

Fixture that provides back-flow prevention for a dishwasher. It is seen above the countertop as a small cylindrical fixture mounted parallel with the faucet. Below the countertop, the drain pipe of the dishwasher feeds the "top" of the air gap, and the "bottom" of the air gap is plumbed into the sink drain below the basket.

Ambient lighting

Lighting which illuminates an area evenly and entirely. Also known as general light.

Arts and crafts

Style emphasizing craftsmanship and nature.

B

Back flow

When water travels back from one system into any part of the main distribution system.

Ball valve

A ball-shaped valve, usually found on single lever faucets. The flow and mix of the water is regulated by the motion of the lever on top of the valve.

Batch feed

Disposal that must have its cover in place to process waste.

Bidet

Personal hygiene fixture. Usually includes a washing basin, a hot and cold faucet, and sprayer.

Body sprays

Wall mounted sprays, usually part of custom shower system.

Bolt caps

Decorative caps that cover bolts connecting toilet to floor.

Building code

Local regulations setting safety requirements for buildings.

C

Carbon footprint

Measurement of one's effect on the environment or climate. Expressed as the amount of greenhouse gases produced measured in units of carbon dioxide.

Cartridge

Part of the valve that controls the ON/OFF function. Also called the stem.

Centerset faucet

Bathroom faucet with spout and handles on single base plate. They are compact and typically feature a 4" spread between handles. Compare to widespread and mini widespread.

Ceramic disk valve or cartridge

Most durable and long-lasting type of faucet valve.

CFM

Cubic feet per minute. Used to measure how much air a ventilation fan circulates per minute.

Check valve

A one-way or non-return valve that allows fluid to flow through it in only one direction.

Compression fitting

A type of pipe or tube connection where a nut and a sleeve is placed over a copper or plastic tube and compressed tightly around the tube when the nut is tightened to form a positive grip and seal without the need for soldering.

Contemporary

Style reflecting modern, minimalist, or urban taste.

Continuous feed

Disposal that can accept food waste as it is running.

D

Decorative lighting

Serves as decoration in addition to being a source of light.

Diverter

Valve which directs water to various outlets.

Dual flush toilet

Toilet with selectable gallon per flush setting.

Dual mount

Medicine cabinet can be mounted either recessed or surface. Also called universal mount.

E

Effluent

Liquid waste in a septic system.

EPA

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an agency of the federal government that protects human health and the environment by developing and enforcing regulations and national standards.

Escape

Style reflecting exotic tastes.

Escutcheon

Decorative metal plate that covers an installation hole. Often used with sink, shower, or other faucet. Also used as a back plate or to add ornamental decoration to the look of the shower or faucet.

Extender

Coordinated faucet piece that raises the spout height.

F

Faucet center

Distance between centers of outer faucet installation holes.

Finish

Decorative protective coating on a metal fixture.

Fireclay

Dense form of china, glazed and fired at very high heat.

Fixture

Any device that provides or disposes of water, such as faucets, tubs, sinks and toilets.

Flange

Plate, ring or other piece that covers a connection.

Flux

A gel or jelly-like substance applied before soldering to help bonding and to prevent oxidation.

Float activator arm

Buoyant float connected to an activator arm that manually moves the arm as the water level rises and triggers the operation of a sump pump.

Float ball

Toilet tank part that rises and falls with water level. Connected to ballcock.

Flex hose (or supply lines)

Connects outlet of valves to tee assembly on spout. Typically fabricated from stainless steel to allow for ease of installation.

Flush lever

Handle on toilet tank that initiates flush.

Flush valve

Valve at center of toilet tank that releases water. Activated by the flush lever.

Focal light

See task lighting.

G

Garbage disposal/disposer

Unit that is installed in sink to process food waste.

GFCI

Ground-fault circuit interruptor. This is an outlet with a safety feature that monitors the amount of electricity flowing in a circuit to prevent harmful shock.

Grab bar

Sturdy bar that aids bathroom mobility and safety. Many grab bar designs today are decorative as well as functional.

Gravity flush

Flush method that uses weight of water to provide pressure. This pressure forces tank contents into the bowl and down through the trapway. Quieter than pressure-assisted flushing but more prone to clogs.

Gray water

Waste water from sinks, showers and tubs.

Grinder pump

Wastewater conveyance device that grinds the solid waste into a fine slurry, and pumps it to the central sewer system or septic tank.

H

Handheld shower

Showerhead that can be held and used manually. May be attached to a bracket or slide bar or integrated as part of a larger fixed showerhead.

Handle

The trim piece that turns the stem on the cartridge.

Hands free

Faucet that turns on and off with wave of hand under spout.

Hard water

Natural water that contains impurities such as calcium, minerals, or dissolved solids in a solution, measured in parts per million.

I

ID or I.D.

Inside diameter

Impeller

Screw or fan-like device in a sump pump that spins and forces water towards the sides of a pipe using centrifugal force, creating a low-pressure area at its center. Water in the sump pit will fill the void allowing the impeller's spinning action to push the water out through the pipe.

L

Leach field

Area of soil through which septic tanks leach treated waste.

LED bulb

Light bulb that uses light emitting diodes. They feature long bulb life and low energy consumption.

Less drain

Denotes that a faucet is sold without the pop-up drain.

M

Matte

Non-reflective, dull finish.

Macerator

Machine that reduces solids to small pieces in order to for waste to be removed by pumping.

Mini widespread

Bathroom faucet with separate spout and handles on 4" centers.

Minimum cabinet size

Minimum outside cabinet width required to install a sink. This measurement will be larger than the sink width, but may vary by how much is needed from model to model. Many sink manufacturers specify the minimum cabinet size required for each of their sinks.

Mousseur

Faucet spout that extends the regular flow. Similar to pull down or pull out, but does not switch to spray.

N

NSF international

An independent public health and environmental organization that develops public health standards and certifications that help protect food, water, consumer products and the environment. NSF International tests, audits, and certifies products and systems and provides safety based risk management solutions.

O

OD or O.D.

Outside diameter.

P

Patina

Greenish film produced by oxidation on a metal surface. Often esteemed as being of ornamental value.

PE

Stands for polyethylene. A type of plastic commonly used in flexible supply lines and other manufactured items.

Pedestal pump

Sump pump with a motor mounted above the sump or water basin, making it more easily serviced but also more conspicuous. Pedestal pumps are less expensive and easier to remove.

PEX

Stands for cross-linked polyethylene which is stronger than PE. Used in flexible plastic supply lines such as water supply lines.

Porous

Full of small pores that liquids can permeate.

Pot filler

An extendable faucet installed over or near the stove. Used to fill large vessels without the need to carry them from sink to stove.

Pressure assisted flush

Method of toilet flushing that involves pressurized air forcing water into the bowl when flushed. Reduces clogs, but tends to be noisy and more expensive than gravity flush systems.

Pressure balancing valve

A tub/shower valve that controls temperature through mixing. This type of valve monitors pressure in the hot and cold supply lines and compensates for a drop in either one.

Pressure sensor

Sensor activated by water pressure that triggers a sump pump to turn on.

Pull down faucet

A faucet whose spout can be extended downwards on a hose. Usually offers a choice of stream or spray settings.

Pull out faucet

A faucet whose spout can be extended outwards on a hose. Usually offers a choice of stream or spray settings.

PVC

Stands for polyvinyl chloride which is a rigid, white plastic used in bathroom drains, waste, and vent pipes.

PVD (physical vapor deposition) finish

Bonding process that creates extra durable faucet finishes. During the process the finish becomes an integral part of the faucet rather than just a coating. Finishes utilizing this process resist tarnish, scratches, and corrosion and retain a like-new look for a long time.

R

Reach

Distance from faucet spout opening to sink or countertop. This measurement determines the area of the sink that the faucet flow will cover.

Recessed mount

Medicine cabinet mounted inset in the wall.

Reverse osmosis

Process of desalinization and filtration that forces water with pressure through a semipermeable membrane.

Riser

A short vertical pipe that carries water from the branch to the fixture and also a supply line pipe that rises from one story to the next.

Roman tub filler (or faucet)

Deck mounted tub faucet, often featuring an arc spout.

Rough in

Part installed in wall or floor or under counter or deck. For example, the rough in valve behind a shower wall. Term is also used to describe the distance between the finished wall and the center of a toilet drain for installation purposes.

S

Sanitary bar

Blocks water from building up underneath toilet tank. Helps prevent clogging.

Scald guard

A valve designed to prevent extreme temperature changes when there is a drop in hot or cold water pressure. The scald guard shifts back and forth behind the shower valve control handle to compensate for the sudden change and help maintain a constant water temperature.

Sealant

Protective layer applied to porous surfaces. Usually applied to stone, granite, and concrete etc. to prevent discoloration and corrosion caused by liquids.

Sediment

The substance that settles in the bottom of the water tank.

Self-rimming

Sink style with lip that sits on the countertop. Also called drop in.

Semi-recessed mount

Medicine cabinet mounted partly inset in the wall.

Service stops

Valve feature that allows water turn-off for service.

Sewage pump

Pump designed to pump sewage waste and affluent away from a house into a septic tank. They are usually installed in the septic tank or a separate pump chamber.

Shower arm

Pipe in wall or ceiling onto which a showerhead threads.

Shower system

Shower with multiple delivery channels, valves and handles.

Soft water

Water that has been treated to lower the mineral content.

Spray channels

Holes in a showerhead through which spray is delivered.

Spread

Distance between the centers of the outer faucet holes.

Stop screw

Faucet feature that allows user to set handle turn limit. Can prevent scalding.

Submersible pump

A sump pump that is mounted entirely inside the sump or water basin. Submersible pumps are specially sealed to prevent electrical short circuits. They are more expensive, but can suck up smaller debris without clogging.

Sump pit

Hole with a gravel base dug in the lowest part of the basement to collect the water where the sump pump is placed. Also called a sump basin.

Sump pump

Small pump that removes accumulated water from a basement or low space in a building. Sump pumps are designed to move the water away from the building to any place it is no longer problematic such as a storm drain or dry well.

Supply lines (or flex hose)

Hoses that connect valve outlets to spout tee assembly. Typically fabricated from stainless steel for ease of installation.

Surface mount

Medicine cabinet mounted on surface of wall.

T

Task lighting

Lighting focused on area where specific tasks are performed.

Tee assembly

Attaches the hot and cold flex hoses to the spout inlet.

Thermoplastic

Type of plastic or polymer that becomes pliable or moldable above a specific temperature and solidifies upon cooling.

Thermostatic valve

Tub/shower valve that regulates water temperature. This valve regulates the temperature of the water itself, not just the hot/cold mix (like a pressure balancing valve), usually based on a preset preference.

Toekick lighting

Linear lighting strips typically placed beneath cabinets. Great for both mood lighting and safety.

Touch technology

Faucets that activate when you touch any part.

Traditional

Style reflecting classic American or European tastes.

Transitional

Style that works in both traditional and contemporary d├ęcors.

Trapway

Channel in a toilet that connects bowl to the waste outlet. Usually visible as a "snakelike" tubing on the sides of the toilet base. Many newer toilets have concealed trapways for a nicer silhouette and easier cleaning. Glazed and larger trapways decrease the chance for clogs.

Trim kit

The outer pieces of a tub and/or shower faucet. Trim kits are installed over a valve that controls the water flow. In addition to a control handle or handles, the kit usually includes a coordinated showerhead and/or tub faucet and sometimes additional fixtures.

Tubular skylight

Roof window that directs light through a reflective tube.

U

UL listed

Meets safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratories.

Under cabinet lighting

Lights that illuminate surfaces and spaces below cabinets.

Universal design

Design approach aimed at facilities appropriate for all. The philosophy is that homes, facilities, environments and products should be inherently accessible, comfortable and safe for all people regardless of age, gender, ability, mobility, etc.

Universal mount

Medicine cabinet can be mounted either recessed or surface. Also called dual mount.

Upflush toilet

Toilet that uses a macerator to grind solid waste into small particles that can be pumped upward through a discharge pipe rather than using gravity to assist in drainage. Also called macerating toilets.

Urinal

Plumbing fixture used for male urination.

V

Valve

Plumbing part that controls the water flow to a faucet.

Valve seat

The immovable part of the valve. Water flow stops when the movable part of the valve comes in contact with the valve seat.

Vent

The vertical or sloped part of the drain that allows sewer gases to escape from the house or building into the outdoor air. Lets air into the drain system to keep the air pressure balanced to prevent water in the traps from being siphoned off.

Vitreous

Shiny and nonporous; glass-like.

W

Washerless valve

Valve with no rubber seal in the cartridge. Rubber seals are usually found in older valves and may wear out and leak. Ball, cartridge and ceramic disk valves are all washerless.

Washlet

Bidet-like unit that can be integrated into a toilet seat. This personal hygiene product was created by the manufacturer Toto.

Wax ring

A seal placed between the floor flange and the toilet base to prevent leakage and fumes.

Widespread

Bathroom faucet with separate spout and hot and cold handles. Handles are at least 6" apart. Compare to centerset faucet and mini widespread faucet.