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Basic Slip-Joint Bathroom Sink P-Trap

Have you ever wondered what that odd shaped curved pipe is underneath the sink is? In plumbing, it is called a “P-Trap” supposedly because it is shaped like a letter “P” tipped over on its side. Perhaps it should have been called a “U” Trap?

The P-Trap serves a very important purpose. Some people think it is to catch things that fall down the drain, like wedding rings, and keep them from disappearing forever. The P-Trap is helpful in recovering lost items, but it does much more than this!

The main purpose of the trap is to keep horribly smelling sewer gasses from coming up out of the drains. In fact, without these traps, every house that has plumbing fixtures would smell of the awful waste that goes down the drains. Sewer gas not only smells bad, but it can cause serious health problems. For this reason, every plumbing fixture and drain has a trap. Even the water standing in the bowl of the toilet serves as a trap to keep the sewer gasses from flooding the house.

If your drains make gurgling or glugging sounds, it could be an indication of a problem with the air flow or venting. When there is not enough air flow in a drain system, the liquid seal in the P-Trap can be siphoned out, leaving an open pipe where sewer gasses can pass through.

Periodically replacing the P-Trap can cut down on bad smelling sinks. Bacterial build up in P-Traps can cause slow drains and odors. P-Traps are relatively inexpensive, so this can be a low budget fix for bad smells. Occasionally pouring bleach into the trap and letting it sit overnight can help cut back on bacterial build up as well.

At Jerry’s Plumbing Repair, we are glad to help with the updating or replacement of drainage piping and P-Traps.

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