For some homeowners, we don’t even know what a P trap is. And no, it is not spelled Pee Trap, as some might think since we have one in every bathroom. Instead, the P trap is the pipe under your bathroom and kitchen sink. At first glance, it appears to be in the shape of a U, but this pipe has a straight section in it. It derives its name from combining two 90-degree junctions with a horizontal overflow pipe to form the “P.” There are three parts to it: a curved trap piece, drain elbow, and tailpiece. In addition, it contains a water seal, which keeps toxic sewage gases from entering your home. Plumbing standards require that a P-trap gets installed everywhere there is an open drain line that discharges wastewater from your plumbing system.
By Design, The Pipe Will Stop Gases From Entering Your Home
The P-traps are wastewater draining pipes located beneath sinks, washing machines, bathtubs, and other domestic appliances. The pipe has a couple of purposes. First, it prevents larger objects from getting trapped deeper down the drain. Most of us have heard stories of a ring or a small valuable going down the drain only to remove the pipe and find them in the P trap. It’s also just what it says it is, “a trap” that will protect your primary drain from clogging. By design, it prevents sewer gases from rising through your drain as well. The P trap works like a plug. Water will always remain in the pipe’s curved part, resisting the gases from drifting back into the house. Your home could constantly have a putrid odor if not for your P traps.
If You Smell Sewage, Don’t Leave Your P Trap Unchecked
While sewer gases are not dangerous in small amounts, such as a bathroom, these compounds can cause a rotten egg smell and contribute to sewer gas toxicity at higher levels if left unchecked. The scientific name for sewer gas is hydrogen sulfide, and according to research, hydrogen sulfide has proven to be toxic to the body’s oxygen system. As a result, it can cause adverse symptoms, such as organ damage or even death in extremely high amounts, but it’s highly unlikely in a bathroom.
Old Pipes Of Any Kind Are Susceptible To Leakage
Like any other pipes in your home, age and usage can cause your P traps to leak. We always recommend checking under your sinks for leaks at least once a month. In most cases, these leaks are small drops that go down the pipe and on the surface of your cabinets. Unchecked, it can cause damage to your cabinet. When checking for a leak coming from your P trap, look for white water stains on the side of the pipe and around connectors. Fortunately, these pipes are simple to repair and inexpensive to buy.
What’s the Best Way to Clean out or Unclog a P-Trap?
Usually, drain pipes are mostly empty when wastewater flows down them. However, if your toilet, bathroom, or kitchen drains are draining slowly, this could indicate a blockage in the drain pipe. To remove the blockage, you might have to use something as simple as a household plunger or small plumber’s snake to clear the clog. But as a warning: if all your drains are moving slowly, then chances are the sewer main is clogged. In more extreme cases, a cutter head on a commercial plumber snake is required to clear your drain lines underground.
In some cases, roots can clog the line, or it may be blocked because the drainpipe has collapsed. As a result, the water that drains from other sources could fill the drain and lead to slow drainage. To avoid a more serious problem with your drain line, it may be best for a plumbing expert to check out the issue immediately, possibly with the help of a camera inspection.
Clogged Drain? Call Your Big B’s Plumbing Contractor Today!
The average “do-it-yourselfer” can find a video online that will walk you through the process. If you choose to call your plumbing contractor, the cost is usually slightly more than a service call, and they keep them well stocked. Like all appliances and fixtures in our home, you have choices. You can purchase P traps in PVC or chrome steel. You will commonly see steel on exposed sinks because steel is more attractive. Big B’s plumbing license #986152