Plumbing Terms Explained

Plumbing Terms of Endearment

Sometimes when we watch a TV show, see others working on some plumbing, or read about plumbing topics (yeah, we are that dedicated), we come across misuses of terms we hold dear. Now most of the time these mistaken term uses simply incurs a mischievous laugh on our behalf. However, we have seen instances where the use of what is needed and what is used on plumbing jobs has caused some significant problems and a bit more laughter (under our breath though). So, in an effort to reduce the number of Twitter, Pintrest, and Instagram posts of plumbing failures, we’ve composed a list of terms that commonly misused with their correct meanings.

Common Plumbing Misnomers

PTFE Tape. Call it PTFE tape unless you want to sound like a science guru and say “polytetraflouroethylene tape”. PTFE usually is called Teflon tape. The marketing team at DuPont did such a great job at marketing their product that Teflon has taken the place of the PFTE tape. Simply put: All Teflon is PTFE, while all PTFE is not Teflon. Furthermore, Teflon is a trademarked name of DuPont so if they really wanted to sue for improper use of their product’s name…well you get the point.

Bonus Tip: When using Teflon…I mean PTFE tape on a plumbing job, never overwrap the threads. Doing so can cause the female fitting to crack.

Silicone caulk, latex caulk, sealant. Although all three can seal various items, it would be a great mistake to use caulk to seal any piping. Professional plumbers understand that caulks are only useful for sealing fixtures down. Caulks and silicones should never be used to seal any piping. They should only be used to seal fixtures down and prevent water from seeping into areas. Never get into the mind frame of calling caulk “sealant” or using it as sealant on pipes (yeah, we’ve seen that happen).

We have many terms left that get crossed with other from time to time. Keep up with our blog for part 2, which will have some interesting tales.