Clogged drains happen to the best of us. When you do encounter a sink clog, it may be time to clean your drain trap. Drain traps can easily become congested with food and hair and other debris, and it’s essential that you routinely clean the traps to prevent damage to your plumbing system.
What is a Drain Trap?
A drain trap, or P-trap as it is most commonly known, is the u-shaped trap between your plumbing and drain that prevents the harmful gasses from moving back up through your pipes into your kitchen or bathroom. It also catches debris, hair, dirt, and other unattractive sludge from coming through your pipe system.
This is also the trap that supplies a place for small objects to rest before they descend deep into the plumbing system. Have you ever dropped a ring down the sink? The drain trap is what you would remove and take apart to find the ring. Professional plumbers likely have had many calls of frantic customers who have lost a piece of jewelry down the drain, and are eager to have it retrieved!
DIY Guide to Cleaning the Drain Trap
If you are experiencing a clog, it’s likely a problem with your drain trap. Luckily, small clogs are easy enough for homeowners to fix themselves! Follow this DIY guide to cleaning out your drain trap so you can return your pipes to normal again.
1. Prepare Your Work Space
Make sure to be prepared with all the right equipment before you start anything. This includes a bucket, a wrench or pliers, and possibly a snake drain. Also, make sure to remove anything underneath your sinks so you have plenty of clear space. Place a bucket underneath your drain trap to catch any water that may spill out.
2. Disassemble The Drain Trap
First, locate the drain trap. Then, unscrew the slip joint nuts found on each side of the “j” bend of the trap. Loosening these will remove the trap from the sink tailpiece and the neighboring wall fitting. If you have a newer sink, unscrewing the drain tap can be done by hand. An older drain trap may be harder to loosen and will require a wrench or pliers to undo.
3. Unclog The Drain Trap
Take a bottle brush or a wire coat hanger and clean the inside of the drain trap. Make sure it’s squeaky clean since even small debris can cause a clog in the drain trap.
If your drain trap is clean when you unscrew it, then the problem could be a clog further along in your pipes. Take a drain snake and insert it into the pipe in the wall. By rotating the handle clockwise, you can snake out any debris that may be caught in there and causing your clog.
Once you clean the drain trap, or snake out the pipe in the wall, it’s likely your clog problem has been solved. Put your drain trap back together by screwing the slip joint nuts back on. Make sure each washer is properly tightened! If you are hand-tightening the slip joint nuts, use a wrench or pliers to give them a final turn.
If your drain trap starts leaking, it’s likely you didn’t tighten the washers enough. However, be careful about over-doing it! Over-tightening the washer may break it.
When to Call a Professional Plumber
Did you notice that the drain trap or the pipe in the wall was all clear but you still have a clogged drain? It may be indicative of a more serious problem that a simple DIY guide cannot fix. A professional plumber can inspect your pipes and return your plumbing back to normal.
When choosing a plumbing company, you should always pick one that values providing quality services to its customers. Express Sewer & Drain uses all of the most innovative and cutting-edge line tools to make sure that your drain trap is clear, and the job is done right. If you want a committed, experienced plumbing team, who will always do a professional job, call Express Sewer and Drain today!