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What are the Different Types of Plumbing Parts?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

There are many different types of plumbing parts used by plumbers and other professionals, though there are a few major categories that many of the parts can fall into. Pipes of different sizes, shapes, and substances are some of the most important parts used in plumbing. There are also tools often used specifically in plumbing and related work, such as pipe cutters and drain wrenches. Plumbing parts can also include accessories often used in plumbing such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cement, pipe tape, and various faucet heads and knobs.

Some of the most important and common plumbing parts are the various pipes used by plumbers. These include pipes of different lengths and diameters, often used for different applications underground and within a home or business. PVC pipes are especially common and are made using a plastic material that is strong, lightweight, and fairly inexpensive. Copper piping can also be found among plumbing parts, though this is typically quite a bit more expensive than PVC and is often reserved for use in fixtures and pipes in bathrooms and kitchens.

PVC pipe fittings.
PVC pipe fittings.

There are many different shapes of pipes used by plumbers, from long straight pipes typically joined together with couplers to create great lengths of straight pipe, to various curves, angles, and splitters that allow a plumber to fit pipes into any shape and area needed. Plumbing parts also typically include those tools needed to work with all of these various pipes and other equipment. Pipe cutters are often used, with a standard hand saw being an easy way to cut PVC piping and other types of cutters used for copper piping. These include smaller cutters that can easily be used in a tight space by securing the cutter to the pipe, then spinning it around the pipe several times to cut through it cleanly.

Copper pipes.
Copper pipes.

Other accessories often found among plumbing parts include those items used to connect various types of piping. PVC cement is usually used to create a strong connection between two pieces of PVC. The cement is applied to each piece liberally, then the pieces are secured one within the other — a coupler used to connect two pieces of the same diameter — and the cement is allowed to dry and form a fairly permanent bond. Plumbing tape can also be used to further strengthen this type of bond or to cover up areas of potential leaks. This type of tape uses a gluing agent that is not water soluble.

A kitchen faucet.
A kitchen faucet.

Drain wrenches are often found among plumbing parts and are designed to fit into tight spaces to reach hardware secured within them. There are also more general types of plumbing supplies such as “snakes” that can be run down into a drain to clear out clogs and other obstructions. Faucet heads and knobs are often used by plumbers to finish off a faucet, allowing the water to be turned on and off and to be emitted in various spray patterns by the head.

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Discussion Comments


@heavanet- I have a friend who is a plumber, and he prefers PVC pipes. He said that they are very durable, and will hold up for many years when used in a bathroom.

According to my friend, another good thing about PVC pipes compared to copper pipes is that they are easier to fix or replace when a problem does occur.


I'm remodeling a guest bathroom this year, and I'm debating on using PVC or copper pipes for the bathroom plumbing parts. I like that fact that PVC pipes are affordable, but I'm concerned that they will not hold up as well as copper pipes. Does anyone have some advice to help me choose?

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    • PVC pipe fittings.
      PVC pipe fittings.
    • Copper pipes.
      By: RZ
      Copper pipes.
    • A kitchen faucet.
      By: Elenathewise
      A kitchen faucet.
    • Using plumber's tape helps prevent leaks.
      By: Bert Folsom
      Using plumber's tape helps prevent leaks.
    • Sometimes a plumber can clear clogged drains using a plumber's snake, a long tool that can break up hair and other objects deep inside a pipe.
      By: John Takai
      Sometimes a plumber can clear clogged drains using a plumber's snake, a long tool that can break up hair and other objects deep inside a pipe.
    • PVC pipes require a special cement for sealing joints.
      By: auremar
      PVC pipes require a special cement for sealing joints.