Glossary

Terms for glossary.

a
air gapsearch for term

A vent designed to prevent water backflow/contamination during dishwasher use.

angle stopsearch for term

Water shut-off valve(s) underneath sinks that allow the main faucets to be maintained or replaced. The toilet also has an angle stop which turns off water in case of toilet overflow. These have a high failure rate if not maintained and used fairly regularly.

anode rodsearch for term

A sacrificial aluminum or magnesium rod used to prevent rusting.

as per codesearch for term

A collection of legal requirements for buildings designed to protect the safety, health, and general welfare of people who work and live in them.

asbestossearch for term

A common, pervasive hazardous mineral fiber found in many older buildings.

astragalsearch for term

A trim board that is attached to the active side of a French door or double window. It acts as a stop, a weatherstripping mount, prevents air/water entry and is a cosmetic trim.

b
BTUsearch for term

Abbreviation for British Thermal Unit, a standard unit for measuring heat gain or loss.

bulkheadsearch for term

A horizontal or inclined door providing access to a cellar.

c
catch basinsearch for term

A receptor or reservoir in the ground that receives surface water runoff or drainage.

cesspoolsearch for term

A lined excavation in the ground that receives the discharge of a sewer drainage system.

circuit breakersearch for term

An electrical device for discontinuing current to electrical receptacles.

condensationsearch for term

Moisture that accumulates in a building, frequently on the inside of the exterior walls.

cornicesearch for term

The part of a roof that projects out from the wall.

crawl spacesearch for term

A shallow space below a building between the foundation walls.

creosotesearch for term

Carbon deposits left in stovepipes and chimneys from condensed wood smoke.

culvertsearch for term

A passage for water below ground level.

d
dampersearch for term

A movable plate that regulates the draft of a stove, fireplace, or furnace.

dormersearch for term

A structure projecting from a sloped roof, usually with a window.

downspoutssearch for term

A pipe usually metal or plastic used to carry water from the roof gutters.

dry wellsearch for term

A pit that is designed to contain drainage water until it can be absorbed into the soil.

ductssearch for term

The tubes and channels used to distribute conditioned air from heating or cooling systems

e
easementsearch for term

The right to use land owned by another, such as a utility company's right-of-way.

eavesearch for term

That part of a roof that projects over a wall.

efflorescencesearch for term

A white powdery deposit of salts left on the surface of foundations and masonry walls by moisture.

egresssearch for term

A means or place of going out; exit.

elbowsearch for term

An L-shaped pipe fitting.

f
fasciasearch for term

A vertical board nailed on the ends of the rafters. It is part of the outer edge of a cornice.

flashingsearch for term

Metal or other impervious material used to prevent water from entering at building joints.

fluesearch for term

The opening in a chimney through which smoke passes.

g
gablesearch for term

The portion of the end of a building that extends upward to the peak of the roof.

GFCIsearch for term

Ground fault circuit interrupter; a quick tripping circuit breaker that can stop the flow of electricity within 1/40 second of sensing a short or current leak. They are designed for use in areas where there is potential risk of shock such as outdoors, around kitchen and bathroom sinks and in carports/garages. GFCI's are required by the building code now although retrofitting is optional.

groundsearch for term

A conducting connection between an electric circuit or equipment and the earth or some other grounded body.

groutsearch for term

A thin cement mortar used for leveling and filling masonry and tile applications.

gypsum boardsearch for term

A sheet of material made of gypsum also sheetrock or drywall. Used in place of interior plaster in modern construction.

h
HomeCaresearch for term

Our seasonal home maintenance program.

HPSsearch for term

Abbreviation for Home Preservation Service

j
jackssearch for term

Waterproof penetrations through the roof for plumbing vents and electrical masts.

joistsearch for term

A horizontal structural member that supports the floor system or ceiling system.

k
knob and tubesearch for term

Older electric wiring through walls where insulated wires are supported with porcelain knobs and tubes when passing through wood construction members.

l
low water cutoff valvesearch for term

A shut off valve that turns off a boiler with low water.

lumensearch for term

The lumen (symbol: lm) is the SI derived unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total "amount" of visible light emitted by a source. Luminous flux differs from power (radiant flux) in that luminous flux measurements reflect the varying sensitivity of the human eye to different wavelengths of light, while radiant flux measurements indicate the total power of all light emitted, independent of the eye's ability to perceive it.

LUXsearch for term

LUX is an abbreviation for Lumens per square meter.

m
maintenancesearch for term

The act of preventing deterioration and breakdowns in a building system.

mildewsearch for term

Fungus that appears on organic matter when exposed to high moisture levels.

mud tunnelsearch for term

Tubes made of dirt used by termites to travel from the ground to the wood structure.

mudsillsearch for term

The wood member placed directly on top of the foundation wall in woodframe construction.

muriatic acidsearch for term

An acid used to clean masonry surfaces.

o
outfallsearch for term

The exposed or daylight end of a drainage system where the collected water spills out.

p
perimeter drainsearch for term

A system of drains used to divert water away from a building foundation.

powder-post beetlesearch for term

Wood destroying insects that turn wood into a fine powdery residue.

pressure treated woodsearch for term

Wood treated with a chemical preservative under pressure.

r
radonsearch for term

Naturally occurring gas that is caused by the radioactive decay of the element radium.

ridgesearch for term

The uppermost horizontal line of the roof.

romexsearch for term

An electrical cable that has multiple conductors protected by a non-metallic coating or sheath.

s
seepagesearch for term

Slow water leaks occurring in piping or through basement walls.

septic tanksearch for term

A watertight collector that receives sewage from the plumbing drains.

sheathingsearch for term

The structural covering of boards or wallboards, placed over exterior studding or rafters of a structure.

soffitsearch for term

The underside of a roof overhang or eave.

spark arrestorsearch for term

A device placed on top of a chimney designed to catch embers. It is strongly recommended if the home has a wood shake roof or is located in a fire prone area.

stuccosearch for term

A cement plaster used for the finish siding on exterior surfaces of buildings.

sump pumpsearch for term

A small pump used to remove water.

t
T/P relief valvesearch for term

The temperature and pressure relief valve on a water heater tank.

T/Ssearch for term

Trouble Shoot

termitesearch for term

Wood destroying insects the size and appearance of winged ants.

v
valleysearch for term

The inside angle formed by the junction of two sloping sides of a roof.

vapor barriersearch for term

Material used to retard the flow of moist air into wall cavities to prevent condensation.

ventilationsearch for term

The means by which circulating air is introduced or removed from a structure.

w
weather-strippingsearch for term

Material used to prevent the passage of air around doors and windows.

weepholesearch for term

A small opening that allows water to escape from an enclosed area.