06 Jun What is a P Trap?
What is a P Trap?
You’ve probably noticed curved shape pipes, also known as a P Trap, connected to each sink and open drain in your home and have thought nothing of it. However, as it turns out, these U shaped pipes actually serve an important purpose. In fact, without a P Trap, sewage gases would make their way up through your pipes and into your home where they can be hazardous to your health.
What is a P Trap?
A P trap is a curved shaped pipe that connects to the drain pipe in a way that it resembles a sideways letter p, hence its name.
In the plumbing system, all waste and accompanying sewage water exit the drain where it enters the Drain Waste Vent System. However, because water does not continuously flow through the Drain Waste Vent System, the pipes can get dry, which can cause it to decompose. This decomposition in the pipe then forms sewage gases, which not only put off a sewage smell, but they also include other gases, which can be toxic to your health.
The Drain Waste Vent System includes a vent in the roof for sewage gases to escape; however, they would also try to drift back up through the pipes without a trap.
P traps also help prevent hair, food waste, and other debris from blocking your plumbing system. However, after a while, substances can build up in the trap and cause it to become clogged, which can hinder the wastewater flow. Merely clean or have the trap replaced to restore its function.
How P Traps Work
As water runs down the sink, the level of water rises and goes down the pipe along with waste to the sanitary system.
As the water ceases to flow, new water becomes trapped in the curve of the trap again, which balances out the water and eliminates any spaces for gases to drift back up into the drain, thereby, allowing wastewater to move smoothly and consistently through the system.
P Trap Installation
In fact, you simply join the p trap’s 90-degree joints to the drain of the sink and the pipe system. These traps can be steel or PVC, and they need to be tightly sealed to prevent leaks. However, when installing a P Trap, there may be specific cautions and restrictions in your state concerning the type of trap to use, so be sure to consult with your local professional plumber to ensure your trap is allowed.
For instance, in arid climates, a trap seal primer may be required to prevent the movement of sewer gas. Both scenarios create a risk for water to evaporate, which hinders the p trap from performing correctly.
A P traps can also become overburdened with wastewater from multiple water-using appliances, so there may also be restrictions regarding the number of utility appliances that can be connected to a line using just one trap.
One of the signs that you have a problem trap is a foul or “rotten egg” odor coming from the drain or bathroom water, which is produced by bacteria in the water or pipes, in the sewage, or in the ground. Furthermore, since traps are also designed to prevent clogs, if the trap becomes clogged and cannot be remedied with a plunger, you may require a new trap.