plumbing terms you need to know when shopping for a new faucetShopping for a new faucet can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re not familiar with plumbing terminology. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of plumbing terms you should be aware of when shopping for a new faucet.

Faucet Type:

  • Single-Handle: Features a single lever for both hot and cold water control.
  • Double-Handle: Has separate handles for hot and cold water.
  • Wall-Mounted: Installed on the wall rather than the sink or countertop.

Spout Type:

  • Standard Spout: A straight, vertical spout.
  • Gooseneck Spout: A high-arc, curved spout for easy access to the sink.
  • Pull-Down/Pull-Out Spout: Features a retractable hose for extended reach.
  • Swivel Spout: Allows you to move the spout from side to side.

Valve Type:

  • Compression Valve: Traditional, less common, and may require more maintenance.
  • Ceramic Disc Valve: Durable, long-lasting, and provides precise control.
  • Ball Valve: Features a ball-shaped control handle for water flow and temperature.

Handle Operation:

  • Single Handle: Controls both water temperature and flow with one lever.
  • Two Handles: Separate handles for hot and cold water, offering more precise control.


  • Deck-Mounted: Installed on the sink or countertop.
  • Wall-Mounted: Attached to the wall above the sink.
  • Center Set: Typically has a single handle and fits three holes on 4-inch centers.
  • Widespread: Has separate handles and can span 8 inches or more.

3-Hole vs. 4-Hole Installation:

  • Some sinks have three holes, while others have four. Make sure the faucet you choose matches your sink configuration.

Flow Rate:

  • Measured in gallons per minute (GPM), indicating water consumption. Low-flow faucets are more water-efficient.


  • A device that mixes air with water to reduce splashing and save water.


  • Common options include chrome, brushed nickel, stainless steel, brass, and oil-rubbed bronze.

Spout Height:

  • The distance from the base of the faucet to the highest point of the spout.

Spout Reach:

  • The distance from the center of the spout to the center of the sink drain.

Pop-Up Drain:

  • A built-in mechanism that allows you to open and close the sink’s drain.

Escutcheon Plate:

  • A decorative plate that covers additional holes in the sink.

Supply Lines:

  • The flexible hoses that connect the faucet to the water supply.

Non-Metallic vs. Metal Construction:

  • Some faucets are made of non-metallic materials, which are less likely to corrode.

WaterSense Certification:

  • A label indicating that the faucet meets water efficiency and performance standards.

ADA Compliance:

  • Faucets that meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements are easier to use for people with disabilities.

NSF/ANSI 61 Compliance:

  • Ensures that the faucet is safe for drinking water and free from harmful contaminants.


  • Part of the faucet’s valve system that controls water flow and temperature.

Understanding these plumbing terms will empower you to make a well-informed decision when shopping for a new faucet. Consider your specific needs, preferences, and the existing setup of your sink or countertop. By doing so, you can find the perfect faucet that not only looks great but also functions efficiently and effectively in your space.