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Taking Apart And Installing Traps

The word "trap" conjures up images of rats and mice for many people. But don't worry, these aren't those kinds of traps. A plumbing trap is that U-shaped pipe underneath your plumbing fixtures. Look under your sink or garbage disposer - see, there it is! Many people wonder what the point of this U-shaped pipe is, because it often just gets full of crud. Believe it or not though, there is a purpose for this trap.

Traps work to keep gas from backing up into your drains. Because it is U-shaped, not all of the water drains out of the pipe, allowing a seal to form. This seal prevents gas from pushing back up to your drain and directs it toward your vent system. Even though traps can be annoying, especially when you drop a piece of jewellry down there, it actually protects you and your house.

Traps can leak, especially around those connections to other pipes. These leaks are probably due to a worn-out washer or loose slip nut Both of these are pretty simple to fix.


1. To take out a trap, shut off the local water supply first. Get a bucket and put it under the trap.
2. Your trap may have a cleanout valve. Look for a hole on the underside of the trap. Open this whole before you remove the trap, allowing the water to drain into the bucket. If you think your trap could be clogged, just push a snake into the cleanout valve. This will save you having to take off the whole trap.
3. If there is a leak, use adjustable pliers or a pipe wrench to tighten the slip notes. Only turn the slipnuts about one-quarter of a turn. Turning it further could strip the nuts.


4. If your trap is still leaking, loosen the slip nuts a bit, but don't take them right off. Take the trap out.
5. Examine all washers. If they are corroded or worn, get new ones.
6. If your problem seems to come from the trap itself,you may need to get a new one. Get a trap with the same shape and size.

Taking Apart Traps

7. To put the trap back in, tighten those slip nights with your hand as best you can.
8. Get your pipe wrench or pliers, and tighten one-quarter turn more. Dry off the trap and any connections to the drap.
9. Plugging your drain, turn the local water suppy on. Fill the sink up with a few inches of water, then unclog the drain. Look for any leaks. If your trap is still leaking around the slips nuts, they might be stripped. Use plumbers tape to form a good seal.