Plumbing Tips: How to Check the P-Trap for ClogsWhen the water in your sink starts to drain slowly, you may want to try a few things before you call for help. Often, the source of the clog will be found in the p-trap, the u-shaped bend in the pipes where foreign objects can get stuck and sludge can accumulate, causing a stopped-up drain.

What’s the P-Trap For?

There’s a reason for that distinctive bend in a p-trap, and it’s not just so it will get clogged up and cause you problems. All your plumbing fixtures most likely have p-traps, perhaps located behind a wall or in the case of the toilet, internally. But with your sinks, you should be able to gain access to them from below.

P-traps let water settle into a seal so that sewer gas from drain pipes (located close by), won’t drift back into the home. Fortunately, they’re also a repository for those valuable items like wedding rings that sometimes wash down the drain, lodging there before they wash into the sewer line so that it’s possible to retrieve them.

Clearing the Trap

Clearing a clog in this trap is not difficult. You will need these things:

  • Bucket for catching water and the sludgy stuff in the trap
  • A pair of adjustable pliers
  • An old towel or rags to mop up

Position the bucket beneath the trap. Loosen the nuts at each end of the p-trap, then remove it by sliding it down. Empty it into the bucket, checking for any blockages. If you think it’s going to take you some time to clean the trap properly, insert a wet rag at the end of the pipe that emerges from the wall so you can keep gas from coming out.

Reinstall the trap, being careful not to tighten the nuts too much so that they aren’t stripped.

If you detect any leaks, this is a good time to replace washers seated in the slip joint nuts.

To learn more about unclogging a P-trap and other simple plumbing tasks, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve served the Brownsburg area for more than 40 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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