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What Is the U-shaped Pipe Under My Sink? | Brooks Plumbing Co.

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What Is the U-shaped Pipe Under My Sink?

Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

When you look at the pipes under your kitchen or bathroom sink, perhaps the most prominent feature you will notice is a curved pipe that looks like the letter U. Tilt your head to the side and you’ll notice that it also looks like the letter P. This is the origin of the word “p-trap,” the name plumbing professionals use to describe this portion of the plumbing, although some also call it a u-bend.

For some people, the design of this pipe may seem counterintuitive. Wouldn’t it be more logical for water to flow straight down into the drain pipes? Doesn’t a curved pipe only lead to clogging? The p-trap, located underneath every drain in your home, actually has an important function in plumbing. Let’s take a look at its purpose and some of the problems that may lead you to call for plumbing services.

The Reason for the P-Trap

Your kitchen and bathroom drains lead directly to the drain pipes that connect your home’s plumbing system to the public sewer or septic tank. The p-trap’s main function is to keep the smell of sewage out of your home. As water flows down any drain in your house, it collects in the p-trap, blocking sewer gas from ever reaching your drain. And while it may not have been designed for any other reason, the p-trap has another purpose; it can also catch valuable items like jewelry that may have fallen into the sink by mistake!

Common Problems

However, if a drain is not used for a period of time, the p-trap may dry out. If a sewer smell comes from one of your drains, try running the faucet. If the p-trap is dry, this should fix the problem right away. If not, you may need to schedule professional drain cleaning. Unfortunately, the shape of the p-trap makes it prone to clogging from hair, food, or other debris. If a plunger cannot loosen the clog, you’ll need to call for professional plumbing services. A plumber is equipped with a drain snake that is capable of pulling out tough clogs from the p-trap and from much further along in the pipes.

Do you need professional plumbing services in Olympia? Call the team of experts at Brooks Plumbing today!

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