It is often items we see every day that escape our attention the most. For example, the U-shaped bend in the drainpipe under a sink: You’ve seen this often in the fixtures of your home and many other places. But have you ever wondered why so many drainpipes have this same specific shape? The answer is interesting, and it’s not quite what people expect.
When you need answers for all of your plumbing questions, call Saddleback Plumbing. Since 1980, we have delivered quality services for plumbing in Laguna Niguel, CA and the rest of Orange County. We’re here for your heating and cooling needs as well.
That “U-bend” is Actually the “P-Trap”
The plumber’s name for that distinctive drainpipe bend is “p-trap.” Although it may seem U-shaped when you look at it from the front, if you take a view from the side you’ll see the similarity to a capital letter “P”.
The p-trap’s function is to create a water seal between the opening of the drain in a sink and the wastewater further down the pipe. The decomposition of wastewater in the plumbing releases sewer gases with unpleasant odor, and this gas naturally rises back up the plumbing. However, gravity traps water inside the dip in the p-trap, and this water plug prevents the sewer gas from escaping up through the drain and into a house.
If you ever detect the smell of sewage coming from a sink that hasn’t been used much, the reason is probably because the p-trap has dried up and there is no water to halt the sewer gas. Turn on the taps and run water down the drain for about a minute to restore the water plug, and this should solve the problem. (If it doesn’t, call for a plumber; you may have more serious issues down in the sewer line.)
The p-trap can turn into an issue for your plumbing, since it will often catch more than water: soap scum, hair, and grease will begin to build up inside it, and this can eventually lead to serious clogging. If you cannot clear out the clog using a plunger, call a plumber instead of resorting to using toxic and acidic chemical cleaners that could damage your pipes. A plumber can use a motorized drain snake or a hydro-jetter to remove the obstructions, and in extreme cases can detach the p-trap from the other pipes and clean it.
If you have a clogged p-trap in your plumbing in Laguna Niguel, CA, call Saddleback Plumbing today and let our fast and professional plumbers take care of it.