What is a P Trap?

Learn what P Trap is used for and how it is important!

06 Jun What is a P Trap?

What is a P Trap?

You’ve probably noticed curved shape pipes, also known as P Traps, 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?

Ben Franklin showing what a P trap looks like.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.

It works by confining water in its curve, which eliminates any gaps for air or gasses to flow back up through the drain.

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

P trap installation is inexpensive and straightforward. However, when installing a P Trap, there may be specific cautions and restrictions in your state concerning the type of trap to use. For instance, in arid climates, a trap seal primer may be required to prevent the movement of

Ben Franklin showing tools to replace a P Trap

sewergas. Both scenarios create a risk for water to evaporate, which hinders the p trap from performing correctly. 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.

Consult with your local Ben Franklin plumbing professional to ensure your trap is permitted and installed correctly.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Duncanville serves the Southwest Dallas cities of Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville, Glenn Heights, Grand Prairie, Maypearl, Midlothian, Oak Cliff, Oak Leaf, Ovilla, Red Oak and Waxahachie with a team of certified plumbers. In addition to emergency plumbing repair, some of the plumbing services provided by the company include: faucet repair, drain services, toilet repair, plumbing fixture installations, tub and shower installations, kitchen sink repair, faucet installation, water heater repair/replacement, and garbage disposal replacement. Call us today at (972) 263-5010 to schedule an appointment!

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