Plumbing Vocabulary: Thingamabobs and Watchacallits

Plumbing vocabulary

We sometimes forget that we have our own little vocabulary in the plumbing world. We have to remember that terms we use everyday, are not terms that our homeowners are used to. In fact, if someone walked into our office, they might think we were crazy discussing bonnets and snakes! We’d like to take some time to explain some of those weird plumbing vocabulary terms. Terms that I, before working here, affectionately called “thingamabobs” and “watchacallits.”


No, it’s not the head piece Little Miss Muffet was wearing in the familiar nursery rhyme. In the plumbing world, a bonnet is found at the top of a compression valve and holds the valve in place. It is the stem of the valve. It prevents the escape of fluids from the valve toward the valve handle. 

plumbing vocabulary, trap, plumbing trap, plumbing terms, plumbing tipsTrap

We bet just about every man has been asked, “honey, does this make me look fat?” However, in the plumbing world, a trap is the curved section of a drain. It traps a small amount of water to prevent sewer gases from leaking into your bathroom. It can also be helpful if you happen to drop something down the drain. Oftentimes, rings and trinkets can be retrieved if you act quickly enough!




Sorry to disappoint but it’s not shorthand for a favorite carnival food! An O-ring is a round rubber washer, as opposed to a flat one. It creates a water tight seal. If you’ve purchased Keystone water filters from us, you’ve probably picked up a replacement O-ring a time or two.


Most people picture a slimy, unfriendly reptile with fangs. In the plumbing world, it’s a flexible, thin spiral of metal. It’s inserted into a drain opening, such as a toilet, and twisted around to grab anything that’s stuck in the pipes. Once the plumbing pulls the snake out of the drain opening, whatever was clogging it is either retrieved or is forced through. It’s also referred to as an “auger.”

Congratulations!! You’ve removed some of the mystique from our “secret” plumbing language! Is there any other plumbing vocabulary you would like decoded? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages and you could see a new blog post with your answer! And of course, if you need a new O-ring for your water treatment system or a trap repaired in your bathroom, we are available for 24/7 service.