U-Shaped Plumbing Stops Sewer Gases

May 26, 2010 at 5:00 am 2 comments

Look under any sink, shower or bathtub in your home and you’ll find a U shaped plumbing arrangement. This plumbing configuration may go by the following names: p-trap, j-trap, u-trap or s-trap. Depending on how you look at it, it can look like any of these letters.

Technically, the term “s-trap” describes a slightly older variation of this plumbing technique, but the term is often used to describe the one seen below. For short, we’ll just call it “the trap” because it traps water.

Trapping water serves two main purposes.

The first is prevent sewer gases from entering a building through the drain pipes. These gases smell bad and are bad for your health.

The second is to catch small items that are inadvertently dropped down the drain, such as jewelry. There is typically an access cap on the bottom of the trap that can be used to retreive valuables or clean out the trap — they tend to collect hair and other debris.

When water enters the trap, it pushes the same amount of water out the other side of the trap. This means the trap will always maintain the same amount of water in it. Traps may dry out due to evaporation if a particular drain is not frequently used. If you have a rarely used drain, it might be a good idea to run the water for a minute every 4-5 weeks.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Wikipedia, Water Evaporation

Entry filed under: Demystified. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. AnnieJ  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Wow! I’ve always wondered why it was so… thanks! This is pretty awesome. Also, now I don’t have to worry about losing things down the drain! (It’s always been something I’ve been scared of, lol)

    Reply
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