The plumbing trap is an essential part of virtually all plumbing systems. Its basic role is to prevent gas from coming back up the pipes and into your home or place of work.
This is important. Sewage is created by all the waste water and products which go down your drains. A byproduct of this sewage is the generation of several different gases. These include methane, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen and even carbon monoxide.
Some of these gases smell unpleasant and some of them can have a seriously detrimental effect on your health. To stop these gases from getting into your home you need to have a liquid barrier in your pipes. The gas cannot pass through water; keeping your home smelling nice and you safe.
The plumbing trap is simply a method of keeping the water in your pipes and stopping these gases. It works by creating a U bend in your pipes; usually just below the waste outlet.
The U bend simply sets the exit point slightly higher than the lowest point in the pipe, the result is it is impossible for the water to escape from this section of the pipe; creating the barrier you need to keep gases out of your home.
You should note that the exit point must allow for at least 1 inch between its lowest point and the top of the U bend part of the plumbing trap.
Types Of Traps
You may be surprised to find that there are actually several different types of traps; although all of them perform the same function.
- Tubular P trap
- Classic P Trap
- Bottle Trap
- J bend
It is important to note that you can’t have a double trap on any appliance; this goes against the regulations as it creates unnecessary pressure in your system and increases the chances of a blockage.
Skipping The Plumbing Trap
You can see the plumbing trap serves a useful purpose; after all no one wants dangerous gases in their home. However, the plumbing trap is the weakest part of any plumbing system. This is where any debris will collect and is the usual source of blockages.
It is possible to avoid the plumbing traps by using dewatering pumps. These act by pumping water and waste away for you. The advantage of this type of system is that much smaller diameter pipes can be used because the water is pressurized as it leaves your outlet.
In fact if you couple this with a macerator you can easily remove large waste particles through small pipes.
When the pump is not on the liquid past the pump remains in the system. This acts to prevent gases from travelling upwards without the need for a plumbing trap. The pulp has valves in it to prevent this water from draining away or feeding back into your sink.
In effect you can simplify your plumbing by adding a dewatering pump. Of course this does cost more than a conventional trap and you’ll need electricity to run the pump. But in return you’ll gain peace of mind and no nasty blockages to deal with.