If you look under any sink in your home, you are likely to see a U shaped pipe. This type of pipe is a common occurrence in kitchens and bathrooms, and while you may expect to see it, do you know why it is there? The U pipe has a very important role in your drainage system
, and most of the time it will be unobtrusively performing this role without the need to even think about it. Unfortunately, there are some issues that can develop, so you need to understand how the U pipe works and what can be done.
Your P Trap:
The bend in your U shaped drain pipe is called a P trap. This name originates from the shape of the trap when it is viewed at an angle. The purpose of the p trap is to capture a little water inside the drain pipe after the sink has been used. This forms a plug to prevent sewer gasses from rising up the wastewater pipe and being released out of the sink. It can also be used to trap any small objects that accidentally fall down your sink. If you have ever dropped your wedding ring or another item of jewelry down the sink, you will be aware that this trap makes it easier to remove them. Your sink may even have a valve installed at the bottom of the p trap to make access easier to remove any lost items.
The Potential P Trap Issues:
In some cases, the p trap can become a potential trouble spot. Since they are designed to trap water, there is also the possibility that debris can also be trapped inside the water. You may find that soap scum, hair and other debris accumulates, which can eventually lead to a clogged p trap. Although you may be able to use a plunger to remove the clog, you may need to call in a professional plumber to use a drain snake to clear the clog. In severe cases, the plumbing technician may need to completely remove the trap.
Another common p trap issue is drying up. When a sink isn’t used frequently, it can allow the water inside the p trap to evaporate. This will allow sewer gas and odors to escape from the drain. Many homeowners report nasty smells emanating from a particular sink and it is usually due to a dry p trap. Fortunately, this issue can usually be resolved simply by running the sink for a little while. This will fill the p trap and prevent the gasses from rising.
The p trap and your U pipe will often quietly perform their task without incident. Unfortunately, issues can develop, so it is important to call in the experts. Experienced, professional plumbers
have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to assess the problem and determine the best method of resolving any underlying issues. This will help to keep your drains running and prevent any unpleasant problems, such as foul odors or blocked sinks.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.