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What Is a Plumbing Trap & How To Deal With Plumbing Trap Issues

Close-up Of Male Plumber Fixing Sink Pipe Plumbing Trap With Adjustable Wrench

Plumbing traps are an essential part of any home's or building's plumbing system. They help prevent foul smells from flowing back into your home through the drains and pipes and keep insects and other pests out of your pipes. Unfortunately, there are several different issues that can arise with plumbing traps, including clogs, corrosion, and improper installation.

If you are experiencing issues with your plumbing traps, there are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot and address the problem.

What Is a Plumbing Trap?

A plumbing trap is a small section of pipe that is installed in the drain line of your water supply system. Its purpose is to keep sewer gases from entering your home through drainage pipes. Plumbing traps have been used for decades and have proven to be reliable at preventing odor problems.

Types of Plumbing Traps

There are two main types of plumbing traps: the P-trap and the S-trap.


P-trap plumbing pipes

A P-trap is a curved piece of pipe, usually made from PVC or another plastic material, that connects to your sink drainpipe. When water goes down your drain, it flows into the P-trap before continuing to join the larger sewer line for waste disposal. The curve in the trap creates a “dead end” where water collects inside, creating an airtight seal. This means that there will always be some water left in your sink's drainage pipes, even when there is no more water running from your faucet.


s-trap plumbing pipes

An S-trap is a curved piece of pipe that also connects to your sink drainpipe. Unlike the P-trap, however, it does not have a “dead end” or airtight seal. Instead, there is an open section where water flows through and then into the larger sewer line for waste disposal. However, if too much water flows through an S-trap, it will actually leave the trap mostly empty and create an air gap. These air gaps then allow gases to escape through the traps. Because of this, S-traps have been banned from use in new construction, but you may still see them in older homes.

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How To Deal With Plumbing Trap Issues

Plumbing traps are an essential part of every plumbing system, but they can also be one of the most problematic.

If you notice that water isn’t flowing freely through your bathroom or kitchen sink drains, then it could be a sign of a trap problem. Likewise, if you experience any strong smells coming from your drains or if there is a sewage backup somewhere in your home, this could point to issues with your traps as well. Here are some tips on dealing with plumbing trap problems:

  1. Check for clogs: If you notice that your drains are draining slowly or if they seem to be completely blocked altogether, then it’s time to check the traps. Most of the time, a buildup of hair and soap around the trap is what causes it to clog up and prevent water from flowing through.
  2. Clean out buildups: Your traps will often become coated with grease and food particles, which can eventually cause them to clog. If the clogs get bad enough, then you may need a plumber to come in and clear out these blockages for you.
  3. Get new traps: In some cases, trap problems are caused by old plumbing components that simply can’t operate properly anymore. If this seems to be the case with your home, then you may want to consider investing in new plumbing hardware.
  4. Have a professional check out your system: You should always have a professional plumber inspect and service your plumbing system on an annual basis. Not only does this ensure that everything is running smoothly, but it also allows you to address any minor problems before they turn into major ones that require expensive repairs.

Call Cranney Home Services for Plumbing Services

Cranney Home Services plumber working on plumbing trap problems under a kitchen sink

Looking for quality plumbing services on the North Shore? Look no further than Cranney Home Services! With years of experience serving Salem and the surrounding communities, we are your go-to source for all your plumbing needs. Whether you need quick repairs or a full installation, our team is dedicated to providing top-quality results at affordable prices.

So, if you're in Beverly, Danvers, or the surrounding areas, contact us today at (978) 750-6900 to learn more about our services and schedule your appointment with one of our experts!

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