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What is the Purpose of a Trap in Kitchen Plumbing?

Every time you open the cabinet under a sink, you’ll see it: the unusual U-shaped bend in the drainpipe as it runs from the drain assembly into the wastewater system in the wall. Most of the time, you won’t think about why the drain has this odd shape; you’ll assume it must have some practical purpose, since plumbing is rarely designed with an artistic slant. But every once in a while, you will pause to wonder what it’s actually does.

The bend in the drainpipe under the kitchen sink is called the p-trap or just the trap, and it has an important function that it fulfills every day without you thinking about it. Occasionally, it will need unclogging and repairs; contact a professional plumber to help. Bell Home Solutions has many decades of experience repairing plumbing in Aurora, CO, so make us your first call.

The Basics of the P-Trap

Although you probably think of the bend under the sink as a U shape, if you tilt your head to the side you’ll understand why plumbers call it a “p-trap”: the full assembly including the pipe into the wall looks like a capital P.

The purpose of the trap is to catch water in the dip in the pipes and keep it there. After you run water down the drain, gravity will keep a plug of water in the dip. (The maximum trap seal depth is 4”.) This plug blocks the odors of decaying sewage from wafting up from the wastewater system and into your home. If you notice sewer smells inside your kitchen, the trouble might come from a sink that hasn’t run in a couple of weeks and has a dried out p-trap. If you run water through the sink again, it should take care of the problem.

P-traps serve another purpose, although they weren’t built with this in mind: they can catch valuable items that may accidentally slip down the kitchen sink. If your wedding band falls down the sink drain, you’ll be glad for the p-trap catching it!

Because of the large amount of food waste that goes down a kitchen drain, the p-trap can collect enough debris to become clogged. If a sink plunger won’t clear a clog, you need to call plumbers to remedy the problem. Occasionally, a clog can become so thick that plumbers will need to detach the p-trap from the drain assembly and clean it.

The p-trap is there to make your kitchen a more pleasant and efficient place. Don’t let problems with the trap cause you unnecessary worries: call Bell Home Solutions for the help with your plumbing in Aurora, CO that will clear up your kitchen trap troubles.

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