What Is a P-Trap & Why Do You Need One?

What Is a P-Trap & Why Do You Need One?

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What Is a P-Trap & Why Do You Need One?
Nov 19, 2021

What Is a P-Trap & Why Do You Need One?

A P-trap is a U-shaped piece of pipe that is connected to a drain line that eliminates wastewater into a septic tank or sewer system. If you look beneath the sink drain in your home, you’ll see a curved piece of pipe that is connected to a drain pipe. That’s the P-trap and has several purposes. Sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and washing machines, all have P-traps.

How Does a P-Trap Work?

A P-trap combines two 90-degree joints and a horizontal overflow pipe. These parts are joined together to create a "U" shape.  The P-trap design allows water to flow into the overflow pipe and prevents the backflow of water toward the sink. As you can see, the standing water in the curved part of the pipe allows the P-trap to work.

Functions of A P-Trap

  • Prevents Odors

The P-trap is designed in a way that it always retains water at the bottom of the curve. The standing water prevents sewer gases from rising up through the drain into your home. When you run water down the drain, the standing water at the bottom of the curve is flushed out and is replaced with new water. As long as the water remains in the P-trap, sewage gases won’t seep from pipes into your home. If you notice a foul smell coming from your drain, that could be an indication that the P-trap is empty. You should call a plumber to inspect your P-trap if it cannot hold water.

  • Prevents Solids from Entering Your Drain

The P-trap traps solids that drain from the sink; thereby preventing the formation of a clog in the drain pipe. The P-trap can become clogged when it has collected enough debris, resulting in a slow drain. You can clear out a clogged P-trap using a plunger. Simply run water in the sink and work the plunger up and down several times in quick succession. If this does not work, you may have to disconnect the P-trap to empty its contents. Using a pair of adjustable pliers, loosen the nuts on both ends of the P-trap and then slide it down. Unclog the P-trap and reinstall it back into position.

While disconnecting the P-trap is fairly easy, you should call a plumber to help you if you have any doubts. It’s never a good idea to take chances when it comes to plumbing repair.

To prevent the P-trap from clogging, avoid pouring things like grease, fats, and coffee grounds down the drain.

Signs of a Faulty P-Trap

  • Unpleasant odors rising up from your drains
  • Slow drains
  • A leaking P-trap
  • Strange noises when you run water in the sink

If you notice any of these signs, call a nearby plumber to inspect your P-trap and fix the problem. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we can help you with P-trap repair and replacement. We are equipped with the right tools to inspect your P-trap and perform the necessary repairs. We also provide pipe repair, pipe replacement, drain cleaning, and more.