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Plumbing Tips: How to Check a P-Trap for Clogs

Plumbing Tips: How to Check a P-Trap for ClogsMaybe you’ve never given it much thought, but the p-trap under your kitchen and bathroom sinks is a pretty cool invention. That’s the curved portion of your drain pipe, shaped a bit like a U, with a 90-degree fitting on the outlet side of the bend. The purpose of the p-trap is twofold: the bent shape helps trap debris so that it doesn’t form a clog further down the line; and, because the trap holds a small amount of water each time you turn it on, it forms a seal and keeps sewer gases from escaping into the home.

But clogs do occasionally occur in the p-trap, so it pays to know how to clear them. Here are some basic instructions.

Unclogging the P-Trap

When your trap gets clogged, it’s fairly easy to remove that section of pipe and clean it out.

Place a bucket under the trap. Loosen the nuts that hold the section in place. Remove the trap and empty the water into the bucket. Stuff a wet wash cloth in the pipe section coming out of the wall so that sewer gases are blocked while you’re working. When you have thoroughly cleaned the trap, reattach it carefully.

Keeping the Trap Clean

The best way to deal with clogs in the trap is to prevent them. Putting a strainer in the drain will keep hairpins, jewelry and other loose items from accidentally falling into the drain.

Also, be careful what you pour down the drain. Hair and coagulated soap and lotion can also create a clog.

Try a little drain maintenance now and then by pouring a half cup of baking soda in the drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Let it bubble for a bit and then rinse the drain with hot water.

Another way to clear a clog is with a drain snake. Insert the snake and rotate it to dislodge the clog. You can also use the snake to pull the clog out.

To learn more about your p-trap, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing quality service to Orlando since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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