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Plumbing 101

Plumbing 101

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
It is often found at the tip of an indoor water faucet. An aerator can be simply screwed onto the faucet head. It adds air to the water before it comes out of the faucet so that the water will flow in a single, non-splashing stream. It helps to create better water flow in properties that suffer from low water pressure. It also serves as a way to reduce the level of water consumption, as it creates higher water pressure. Due to the aerator spreading the water flow, less water leaves the faucet.

Antimicrobial Product Protection:
Is an added feature that offers built-in antimicrobial protection, fighting the growth of odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew

Ball(Control Faucet):
Uses a ball with a stem to control water flow. As the handle is moved, the ball turns and lines up with parts in the faucet body, allowing the water to flow.

Ballcock Supply Valve:
Water supply valve. It fills the tank with water and is one of the two major components necessary for a toilet tank to function (also called Fill Valve or Refill Valve). It features a float ball on the end of an arm that rises with the water level to shut off the valve.

Basin Wrench:
Sometimes called a sink wrench, is a plumbing tool that is used in confined spaces to turn fasteners that would be difficult or impossible to reach with a plumber's wrench or other types of wrenches. For example, the threaded nuts used to secure faucets to sinks are often located in deeply recessed places that can only be accessed with a basin wrench.

Bibb Washer:
Part attached at the end of the spindle that fits into the body of the faucet to .

A personal hygiene fixture or attachment with cold (and sometimes hot) water supply intended for genital and personal cleanliness.

Controls the flow of the water through the faucet. A cartridge is mostly used to control the flow of water through a single handle faucet, though some of the more current 2 handle faucets use cartridges as well.

Refers to types of faucets where the hot and cold handle are close together next to the spout. Center set faucets are typically 4" between the center of the hot and cold handle.

Closet Flange:
Is a pipe fitting that both mounts a toilet to the floor and connects the toilet drain to a drain pipe. The flange is a round steel mounting ring that sits on top of the pipe fitting. The toilet is bolted onto the flange (also called Floor Flange or Toilet Flange).

Cold water supply line:
The pipe that carries cold water to the toilet, sink or shower.

Disc Cartridge:
Uses ceramic discs to control the flow of water, rather than compressing a washer against a seat.

Dual Flush:
Eliminates the flapper and chain and converts toilets to a water saving dual flush design. It uses two buttons or split handles to flush different levels of water.

Electronic Flush Valves:
Provides touch-free flushing. The electromagnetic field activates the flush when a hand is placed above it.

A decorative piece intended to cover rough plumbing, such as the pieces that cover faucet stems.

Female Threads:
The threads of the pipe are on the inside.

Fill Valve:
The hardware inside the toilet tank that controls how much water fills the tank. Can be a ballcock or float cup style. Most new versions of fill valves are available with water-saving features.

FIP is a commonly used shorthand designation for Female Iron Pipe (Female NPT).

Rubbery plug/seal attached to the lift chain at the bottom of your toilet water tank (also called stopper, tank-ball, seal or disk).

Float ball:
The ball that rides on the surface of the water in the tank. When the tank is full, the float ball shuts off the ballcock.

Float Cup Fill Valve:
The float cup fill valve is made of plastic and is a more “modern” style anti-siphon fill valve. Water flow is controlled by a plastic floating O-shaped cup that moves up and down concentrically about the fill valve shaft that raises the float arm, shutting off the valve.

Floatless Type Ballcock:
The floatless ballcock is made of plastic and is a newer innovation in anti-siphon fill valves. These units use a diaphragm pressure sensing mechanism as opposed to any type of float mechanism to adjust water level in the toilet tank.

Floor Flange:
Is a pipe fitting that both mounts a toilet to the floor and connects the toilet drain to a drain pipe. The flange is a round steel mounting ring that sits on top of the pipe fitting. The toilet is bolted onto the flange (also called Closet Flange or Toilet Flange).

Floor Register:
A register is a grill with moving parts, capable of being opened and closed and the air flow directed, which is part of a building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Floor registers are used on the floor, as opposed to wall registers.

Flush Lever:
Located on either the left or right hand side of the toilet tank; it activates the trip lever arm to initiate the flushing cycle in order to flush out the contents of the toilet (also called toilet handle or trip lever handle).

Flush Valve:
The part inside the tank of the toilet that moves the water into the bowl. It releases the stored water into the toilet bowl for flushing.

Gallons per Flush. An indicator of how efficient a toilet is. Most modern toilets are 1.6 or 1.28 GPF.

The flow rate of a faucet or shower head is measured in Gallons per Minute (GPM) and is a critical factor in sizing a tankless water heater or for evaluating if an older plumbing fixture is wasting water.

Handle Broach:
A broach is located on the inside of a handle. The faucet stem should fit snug inside the handle broach. A deep broach is closer to the top of the handle, while a shallow broach is closer to the bottom of the handle.

Iron Pipe Size or Iron Pipe: Standard

Lift Chain:
Connector composed of a series of metal links that, when pulled up by the trip lever, opens the tank ball or flapper.

It holds the faucet body to the kitchen or bathroom sink.

Main Drain/Waste pipe:
The slanting pipe in the basement or crawl space that carries wastes to a sewer or septic tank; also called building drain.

Male Threads:
The threads of the pipe are on the outside.

MIP is a comonly used shorthand designation for Male Iron Pipe (Male NPT).

Is a straight thread used for mechanical joints or where fluid sealing is accomplished by an o-ring or washer at the base of the threads. NPS is a U.S. standard.

A gasket in the form of a ring with a circular cross section, typically made of pliable material, used to seal connections in pipes, tubes, etc.

Original equipment manufacturer.

One Piece Toilet:
Tank and bowl are molded together into one piece, not separate tank and bowl.

Outlet Connection:
Waste connection to the drain system.

Overflow Tube:
A Long, hollow tube, fastened to the bottom of a toilet tank. The overflow tube limits how much water can be put in the tank, and should always be shorter than the height of the hole the tank lever passes through.

Packing Nut:
Metal part allowing the packing to be tightened against the stem. If the packing nut is too loose, the stem will leak; if it is too tight, the stem will be hard to turn.

Gasket preventing the spindle from leaking. (Also called Stem Packing).

Plunger / Piston Type Ballcock:
This ballcock/fill valve uses a rod and float to fill the tank with water. This style of ballcock uses a characteristic bottom-fill water discharge tube and is designed with a hinged lever assembly above the ballcock which often use thumbscrews at some hinged joints to allow adjustment of lever arm movement.

Proposition 65:
Officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state. Enacted as a voter initiative in November 1986 with an approved vote of 63-37 percent margin, Proposition 65 protects the state’s drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The warning has to be given for products sold in California that contain any one of over 900 chemicals of concern regardless of the amount of the chemical in the product. The list, which is updated at least annually, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in many consumer products, such as kitchen utensils, footwear, handbags, exercise equipment, photo and scrapbook albums, plumbing products, luggage, and many other products (even foods and beverages).

Pounds per square inch. Measures the pressure of the water supply as it enters a building.

Refill Valve:
Water supply valve. It fills the tank with water and is one of the two major components necessary for a toilet tank to function (also called Fill Valve or Ballcock Supply Valve).

Seat cover/lid:
The part covering the toilet-bowl opening.

A brass or rubber piece used in faucets to provide a smooth clean surface for a stem to seal against.

Shutoff valve:
A device for shutting off the supply of water to the toilet or faucet. The valve will allow you to shut off the water to one sink or toilet without disrupting the flow to others, but they'll also provide a quick way to turn off the water in the event of a cracked pipe fitting or ruptured supply tube.

Single Handle Faucet:
Features one handle that controls the flow of hot and cold water. It can have 2 types of internal mechanisms (cartridges) for controlling water flow and temperature: ball cartridge or disc cartridge.

Metal unit that provides the link between the handle and the stem washer.

Curved end out of which water flows (i.e. tub spout, faucet spout, water spout).

A threaded waterway assembly inserted into the fixture for assembly of valves or trim. (Back spud - pipes are concealed behind wall. Top spud - pipes are exposed.)

A vertical pipe extending from a water supply

Stem Faucet:
Controls the flow of the water through the faucet. A stem is only found in a 2 handle faucets.

Stem Washer:
Stopper attached to the bottom of the spindle. When inserted into the valve seat, it blocks the inflow of water; when raised, it allows the water to flow. (also called Bibb washers)

The plumbing device inside a faucet fixture that stops and starts the flow of hot or cold water, as well as regulates its flow rate.

Device used to trap foreign materials, preventing blockage of the water passageway in urinals, bathtubs, showers, or sinks.

Supply Line:
Connect the water supply to a plumbing fixure such as a faucet, toilet or an appliance.

Tank ball:
Plug that, when raised by the lift chain, lets the water in the tank flow into the toilet bowl; it then sinks, allowing the tank to refill.

Tank Cover:
The lid that covers the toilet tank.

Tee Adapters:
Create a branch outlet on a supply stop without shutting off the main water supply.

Helical grooves at the end of the spout to which an accessory, such as an aerator, can be attached.

Toilet Bowl:
Hollowed-out part of the fixture in which water flushes waste out through the trap.

Toilet Flange:
Is a pipe fitting that both mounts a toilet to the floor and connects the toilet drain to a drain pipe. The flange is a round steel mounting ring that sits on top of the pipe fitting. The toilet is screwed onto the flange (also called Closet Flange or Floor Flange).

Toilet Handle:
Located on either the left or right hand side of the toilet tank; it activates the trip lever arm to initiate the flushing cycle in order to flush out the contents of the toilet (also called trip lever handle or flush handle).

Toilet Rough-in measurement:
Dimension from finished wall or floor to center of waste or supply opening or mounting holes. (Most one and two piece toilets are 12" rough. Some compact toilets are 10" rough.)

Toilet Tank:
Large, oblong ceramic container located behind the toilet bowl.

Top mount:
The whole faucet fits through the holes on the top of the sink with a plate covering the body of the faucet.

A bent section of a waste pipe, usually in the shape of a J, S, or P, that fills with water to keep sewer gases from coming back up the waste pipe.

Trip lever:
Mechanism that, when activated by the flush handle, pulls up the lift chain, letting the water flow from the tank into the toilet bowl.

Two Piece Toilet:
The toilet tank and bowl are molded separately with the need for attachment through the use of tank to bowl bolts.

Undermount Faucet:
The body of the faucet mounts from under the sink and the trim goes on from the top.

Vacuum Breaker:
A device to prevent water standing in a basin or container from being drawn back into your water supply if there is a complete loss of water supply pressure. A siphon can occur if the end of a hose, hand spray or spout is below the liquid’s surface, pulling contaminated water into the building’s water supply pipes.

Valve Seat:
Part against which the stem washer presses to prevent leakage.

Vent air gap:
Unobstructed vertical space between the water outlet and the flood level of a fixture.

Water Inlets:
A pipe that brings water into the toilet, sink, or shower

Wax Ring/Seal/Gasket:
As traditional toilets are secured by being bolted to the flange, the seal/ring is used to seal the gap between the flange and the bottom of the toilet, in order to prevent sewage gas leaking.

Widespread Faucet:
Measure 8 inches from center of the left faucet handle to center of the right handle with everything in a separate hole.
  • Products
  • General Plumbing Repair
  • Faucet Repair
  • Warranty
  • Proposition 65
  • Toilet Repair
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  • 1. I see a product on your website or catalog, but it’s not available at my local store. Can I order it from you?

    Thank you for your interest in Danco products. We do not sell directly to consumers. If your local Danco retailer does not carry a part in stock, they may still be able to special order it for you, and will receive the product in about 5-7 business days. Don’t forget to check their online stores, as well. Many retailers carry a much larger selection online than they could fit in their store.

    Viewed 98 Times
  • 2. I'm a retailer with an account with Danco. Can I place my order online?

    Thank you for being a member of the Danco family. At this time, you can place orders by phone, fax, or e-mail. If you need assistance with placing an order for your store, please contact your local Sales Representative or our Customer Service team at 800-523-5135800-523-5135.

    Viewed 42 Times
  • 1. This project looks complicated. Can I do it by myself?

    You can do it! Our mission is to make plumbing repair accessible to the everyday homeowner. There are no parts we sell that don’t install with a little bit of basic knowledge and common tools found at all hardware stores. If there is a specific project you have in mind, be sure to check our how-to section for easy to follow guides, and if you feel like you’ve gotten in over your head, reach out to our Product Support team at 800-523-5135800-523-5135 or

    Viewed 26 Times
  • 2. What tools am I going to need to do this job?

    It depends on the job, but most projects can be completed using an adjustable wrench, pliers, Phillips head and flat head screw drivers. Some projects may require a seat wrench, thread tape or silicone grease.

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  • 3. What is the difference between your Silicone Grease (Danco #88693) and your Waterproof Grease (Danco #80360)?

    Thank you for your question. Both are 100% Silicone, and both are safe to use in potable (drinkable) water systems. They differ slightly in chemistry, making Waterproof Grease good as an installation aid for parts that won’t be moving much and Silicone Grease better as a long-term lubricant for moving parts in plumbing systems. Please note: we have only tested these greases for use in residential plumbing applications, and cannot warrant their fitness for other applications.

    Viewed 17 Times
  • 4. I bought a "universal" part, but it doesn’t fit my faucet. How come?

    Thank you for choosing Danco products. We’re very sorry to hear one of our products didn't work for you. We do our best to ensure that our Universal products fit as many brands of faucet as possible. In some cases, the manufacturer has introduced a new design since we brought our product to market, and we don’t have a solution for it yet. Being in the repair part business, it doesn't make good business sense for us to introduce a solution as soon as a new item comes out, as brand new faucets shouldn't be breaking. There needs to be some time to allow enough of the new items to fail for there to actually be demand for repair parts for them. It may just be that your faucet failed too soon.

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  • 1. I just installed a new cartridge/stem, and it leaks. Did I do something wrong?

    You may not have done something as right as you could have. One of the most important steps in changing cartridges and stems is properly preparing the faucet for the stem by removing any mineral buildup or debris from the faucet body. It doesn’t take very much to keep a new part from making a good seal. Take a cleaner formulated to remove mineral buildup and a small brush and really clean the faucet well, then try installing the stem or cartridge again.

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  • 2. I bought a cartridge and it came with a spring and a rubber piece. Where do they go?

    Thank you for choosing Danco products. Those parts go into the faucet before the cartridge. The spring goes into the port the water comes in from wide end first, and the seat (the rubber piece) fits over the spring. Then the cartridge goes in. For more on this, please see our How-To guide.

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  • 3. I bought a new stem and it came with a little threaded brass piece. What is that for?

    Thank you for choosing Danco products. That little piece is called a faucet seat, and it goes into the faucet body before the stem does. It’s what gives the rubber washer on the end of the stem a smooth, clean surface to seal against. You’ll need to remove the old seat first, by unscrewing it, and then screw the new seat into the body of the faucet. You may need a seat wrench to do this.

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  • 4. I bought a stem and installed it, but it turns the wrong way. How do I fix this?

    Thank you for choosing Danco products. Some stems, such as Danco #09330 (3H-10H/C)  #10472 (4Z-24H/C) ‎ are reversible. Just click on this link and input the model # into the search field to find their reversal guides. Other stems simply turn around in the faucet body to change direction. In some cases, there are separate stems for the hot and cold side, and you’ll need to get the correct stem.

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  • 5. What are your o-rings made of? What is their temperature range?

    Thank you for your inquiry. Danco o-rings are made of Nitrile (Buna-N), and are safe to use in temperatures ranging between -86˚F and 248˚F (-30˚C to 120˚C).

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  • 6. What are your faucet washers made of?

    Our faucet Bibb washers are also made of Nitrile.

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  • 7. My faucet has a lifetime warranty. How do I get parts from you?

    We appreciate you thinking of us first for your plumbing needs. We make and sell repair parts to fit faucets by many major manufacturers, but do not administer their warranties for them. For warranty parts for your faucet, you’ll need to contact the original manufacturer. If for some reason they are unable to help you, please keep us in mind for your repair part needs.

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  • 8. What do these numbers on the package the stem comes in mean?

    The identification numbers on our stems, such as 3S-10H/C, 9H-8H/C, or 12F-5D, all help to determine if this stem is the correct size for you. At your local Danco retailer, you’ll find a book full of stems and near it a gauge. The first number in the ID code refers to the size of the stem as measured on the gauge. The first letter refers to the shape, count, and size of the splines on the stem (the part the handle fits onto). The second number is a sequence number, and the second letter or set of letters indicates whether the stem is for Hot (H), Cold (C), Both (H/C), or a shower diverter (D). Once you have the first number and letter from the gauge, you can turn to the corresponding section of the stem book, which is organized by size, to help find a match for your stem. If you want to save time at the store, you can also use our handy online Stem Finder Tool


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  • 9. I’m trying to install a cartridge in my Moen® faucet, but I can’t get the old one out. Is there some trick to it?

    Included with the new cartridge was a white tool that fits over the end of the stem. This tool can be used to rotate the cartridge back and forth and help break up the deposits that are holding the cartridge in place. Sometimes even this isn't enough and a special tool is needed. If that’s the case, ask your local Danco retailer for part #86712, our Cartridge Puller. Once you get the old cartridge out, be sure to thoroughly clean the faucet body with a cleaner formulated to remove mineral deposits, so that you don’t damage the new cartridge on the way in.

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  • 1. What is the warranty on Danco products?

    Unless otherwise specified on the package or instructions, all Danco products carry a one-year limited warranty against defects in material and workmanship under normal use. During said warranty period, the product will be repaired or replaced (with the same or similar model) at Danco, Inc.'s option. Proof of purchase is required for warranty to be honored. This warranty will not apply if the product has been misused, abused or altered in any way. If a defect covered by this warranty occurs during the limited warranty period, you must call 1-800-523-5135 to receive instructions to obtain repair or replacement services. Implied warranties including that of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are expressly limited in duration to the one year time period of this warranty. No responsibility is assumed for any incidental or consequential damages. Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts or the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations or exclusions may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state.

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  • 1. I bought a product and it came with a slip of paper that says "This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm." Is this safe to use?

    For Items Containing Brass: Thank you for your question.  The warning you saw is required under a state law in California commonly referred to as ‘Proposition 65’.  The warning has to be given for products sold in California that contain any one of over 900 chemicals of concern regardless of the amount of the chemical in the product.  Brass products, such as stems contain trace amounts of lead.  Not just our product but similar products from just about every other manufacturer who uses brass.  With that said, the amount of lead in our product is very low.  In fact, our product meets all the low lead health and safety standards established by federal and all state laws; including the very stringent low lead standard for plumbing parts required in California.

    For Items Containing Chrome: The warning in question is in regards to the chrome plating. Chromium is one of the elements that is used to produce chrome plating. Chromium material is on the California Proposition 65 materials listing. We are not stating the product is unsafe or poses any health hazards, but are including the warning to comply with the California state regulations. In fact, chrome plating has been successfully used for decades in the plumbing industry. The current California Proposition 65 materials list has more than 900 chemicals/compounds that make up the total list at this time. The list, which is updated at least annually, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in many consumer products, such as kitchen utensils, footwear, handbags, exercise equipment, photo and scrapbook albums, luggage, and many other products (even foods and beverages).

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  • 1. I'm trying to install a new toilet tank lever, but I can't get the nut off the handle. Can you help?

    Thank you for choosing Danco products. Many of the nuts on tank levers are reverse threaded. Try turning it the “wrong” way.

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  • 2. My toilet is making a humming/screaming sound. What is the problem and how do I solve this issue?

    When you hear these sounds, it may mean that the valve is not opening and closing correctly or the metal parts of the valve are loose and water is not flowing as it should. If not taken care of, the valve will probably fail. You need to replace your fill valve.

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  • 3. My toilet partially fills with water or it randomly fills up with water without flushing. How do I solve this issue?

    The flapper valve may be waterlogged and dropping too fast, resulting in a partial flush and when the bowl fills with water by itself, the flapper may not be sealing completely. You need to replace the toilet flapper.

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  • 4. My toilet is constantly running, the bowl water level too high or low and sometimes it sounds like it is flushing. How do I solve this toilet problem?

    If water is draining from the tank into the bowl when not in use or the water level in the bowl is higher than normal, the issue is likely your flush valve. Another symptom of flush valve problems is ghost flushing, which means the water level in your toilet spontaneously reduces and then fills up again without pressing the toilet handle. You need to replace the flush valve.

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