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An Easy DIY Plumbing Fix: Cleaning Your P-trap

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Cleaning your P-trap is an easy DIY plumbing fix that you can almost always perform on your own, without ever needing to contact a plumbing expert.

The P-trap is that curved pipe under the sink that may look more like a U-shape.  Why would you want to take it apart?  Possibly to retrieve something valuable that fell down the drain, but more likely because you are worried that something is blocking it or stuck.  Maybe it’s a ring or a small toy, but more than likely it’s a hairball all slimed up with toothpaste and hand soap.

It’s one of those jobs that is easier than you might think.  It’s an easy repair and it’s great for those who want to become confident plumbing do-it-yourselfers.  You need slip-joint pliers, a large adjustable wrench, lots of rugs or towels, and a bucket to put under the pipe to catch any water from the trap.

How to Empty a P-trap:

  1. Shut off water to the sink or the entire house.
  2. Start by loosening the compression nuts or sleeves at both ends of the P-trap. You may may need to use the pliers or wrench to loosen metal sleeves.  But, with PVC plumbing, you can loosen them by hand.  As you do this, water will start to flow into your bucket.
  3. Then pull the P-trap free, turn it over and empty out any remaining water. Rinse the p-trap, preferably outdoors, where you can really clean out the pipe.
  4. Then reassemble the p-trap on the pipes. You want to put in compression washers, maybe new ones, before putting the sleeves back on and tightening them.
  5. Turn the water back on, but keep the bucket under the trap until you are sure there are no leaks.

Careful, regular maintenance can ensure the functionality of your household drains and P-traps for years to come. That said, these traps are not perfect, and clogs do occur through frequent use and with poor drain maintenance.  If you feel unprepared to perform such DIY tasks with your own P-traps, or fear the problem with your home’s drains goes far beyond a simple clogged trap, don’t hesitate to contact the plumbing experts at Green’s Plumbing (818)880-8847.  Our countless years of drain cleaning experience give us the specialist advantage for handling any and all pipe performance tasks.

By the way, the P-trap holds a small amount of water that helps keep the sewer-system smells from backing up into your home. P-traps use gravity and water to seal your home from the harmful gases in city sewer systems. These traps create a natural barrier between the air in your home and the air within sewer pipes and their ultimate function is rooted in the safety of a home’s residents.

 

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