Home Repair Tips – Sink and Basin Traps

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Plumbing, Remodeling    by: ITC

When you look at the gooseneck shape of the trap under a sink or basin, it looks as if someone put it there to catch dirt and clog the drain line. It does trap everything from hair to wristwatches. But the real purpose of the trap is to keep sewer gas and germs from getting back into the house. Water runs through the trap, but there is always enough left behind in the bottom of the trap to make an airtight seal.

There are four basic ways to clear a clogged trap:

• With a plunger

• With a small plumber’s snake

• By removing the cleanout plug if the trap has one

• By removing the trap

The best and safest way of clearing a trap is with a plunger. Chemicals sometimes work, but when they don’t, you have a trap full of a toxic and dangerous substance besides

Every plumbing fixture—sink, basin, bathtub, toilet and floor drain—has a trap. The trap prevents sewer gas and germs from entering the home. a clogged drain. If the sink has an overflow, as most bathroom basins do, you will have to cover the overflow with a sponge or a rag while you are plunging. Double sinks or laundry basins present a similar problem. Water will be forced through the sink you are not plunging. Where a plunger won’t work, a plumber’s snake will sometimes clear the drain. Turn the crank to work it around bends in the pipe.

To use a plunger put a little petroleum jelly around the force cup to make a tighter seal. Place the plunger over the clogged drain and run two or three inches of water into the sink. Press down firmly on the plunger. As you pull up, a vacuum is created to loosen the clog. If the plunger doesn’t work, try a plumber’s snake (auger).

Every plumbing fixture—sink, basin, bathtub, toilet and floor drain—has a trap. The trap prevents sewer gas and germs from entering the home.

Some traps have a cleanout plug. Put a pail under the trap and remove the plug. Use a piece of stiff wire to clean out the trap. Replace the washer and plug. If that doesn’t work or if there is no cleanout plug, remove the trap. An old trap may be corroded or even fall apart when you remove it. Replace it with a plastic lasts longer, and is less expensive. If the trap is still usable, run a wire through to clear it.

A little petroleum jelly will help the ends go back together. Tighten the slip nuts by hand and then slightly more with a wrench. Run some water through to make sure there are no leaks.

A trap with a cleanout plug is fairly easy to clean. Use a piece of wire to break the clog.

Double sinks are connected to the same drain. This may also be true when sinks are back-to-back with a wall between. It is useless to plunge one without blocking the other. One solution may be a plumber’s snake (auger).

To remove a trap, put a pail or pan under the trap. Loosen the slip nuts and pull the trap loose. If the trap is not clogged, the problem is farther down the line. Run an auger through the pipe that enters the wall.

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