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Removing Debris From The P-Trap

When you enter the bathroom in the morning to get ready for work, the last thing you want to worry about is your sink backing up. As you stand there, ready to brush your teeth and fix your hair, you notice the water in the sink refuses to drain. The likely culprit? A clogged P-trap. Fortunately, removing trapped debris from the P-trap is easier than it sounds.

Disassembling The Trap

To begin with, set aside the plunger and the chemicals. There is no need for the strain of trying to force the clog out using the plunger and chemicals don't always work. Instead, turn off the water and open the cabinets under your sink and look for the pipe that resembles a J. If the pipe is made of plastic, unscrewing the cap is as simple as using your hands. If, however, it is made of metal, you will need a plumbing wrench to loosen the trap.

Because of the J-shaped bend in the pipe, debris often becomes trapped in the P-trap. The bad news is, debris can solidify in the trap, which creates a clog. That solidified debris can also have a corrosive effect on your pipes, which means you need to address it as soon as possible.

Gathering The Tools

Make sure you have a plastic bucket handy, so you can use it to catch the gunk that falls out of the trap. You may also want to wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin and hands from the gunk and chemicals that have made their way into your drain. Although it is not necessary, it is recommended that you wear a mask over your mouth and nose so you do not have to breathe in any unpleasant odors. Finally, have a snake drain, a wire coat hanger and a wire brush by your side.

Cleaning The Trap

Use the wire coat hanger to scrap the gunk out of the P-trap. You can then use the metal brush to make sure the trap is nice and clean from one end to the other. If for any reason the P-trap is free of any trapped debris, use a drain snake to check the pipe sticking out from the wall underneath your sink. Make sure you turn the snake clockwise so you can loosen and pull out any clogs that may be hiding away in there.

Reassembling The Trap

Remove the bucket of gunk and reassemble your P-trap. If you had to use a plumbing wrench to loosen the trap, make sure you also use one to put the trap back together. The P-trap prevents noxious gases and sewage from leaking into your home. Tightening the trap with a plumbing wrench ensures your home stays odor-free.

If reassembling the trap proves difficult, you may need to clean or replace the washers. The washers ensure the P-trap fits together securely. Dirty or worn out washers can prevent the P-trap from fitting together, which can cause sewage smells to seep into your house. An ill-fitting P-trap can also lead to unwanted leaks beneath your bathroom sink.

Call For Help

If after cleaning the P-trap you notice that your sink still won't drain, it means you have another, potentially much larger problem on your hands. Contact a specialist like Electric Eel Sewer & Drains Specialists for help. Plumbers have the tools necessary to both diagnose and fix the source of your drain troubles.

If you notice that all of the drains in your home are having trouble, your main sewer line is the likely culprit. Since the main sewer line is much more complicated than your P-trap, a plumber should be your first and only decision. Do not attempt to fix the main sewer line yourself. A simple mistake could damage the sewer line, which could mean huge, unnecessary expenses for you.