How to Clear a Clogged Drain: It Could Be the P-Trap

One of the most common reasons for a clogged drain is a clogged p-trap.

The p-trap is the u-shaped pipe underneath your bathroom or kitchen sink, and it creates a constant barrier of water in your pipes.

This is a very useful thing to have, as it prevents sewer smells from coming up through the pipes, and also helps prevent anything from crawling up your drain.

However, if hair or other buildup gets stuck there, it can prevent your pipes from draining properly.

Thankfully, clearing a drain by replacing or cleaning the p-trap is relatively easy fix in the world of DIY plumbing.

If you’re interested in being plumber for a day and doing your own drain cleaning, then this is the project for you.

1. Get the right materials. You’re going to need a bucket to catch any leaking water, a pipe wrench or channel-lock pliers, and a new p-trap set if you plan on replacing it. You’ll also want gloves and a facemask if you expect mold or other sludge. It may seem obvious, but make sure your tap is off!

If you think that the tap may be accidentally turned on while you’re working, turn off the water valves under the sink as well.

2. Take apart the p-trap. Make sure your bucket is underneath the p-trap, as water will naturally come out once you loosen the nuts.

Remove the u-shaped lower piece first by loosening the nuts on either side with your wrench or pliers. From there, you can unscrew them with your hands. Be gentle, especially if any of the pieces are plastic, because you don’t want to crack or break them.

Once you have the u-piece off, you can also remove the piping that connects to your sink as well as the pipe that connects to the wall.

The u-piece will be full of water, so carefully dump it into your bucket. If you’ve never installed a p-trap before, take a picture of the original set-up so that you know how to put it back together later.

3. Examine and clean the p-trap. If your piping is old, leaking, or corroding, you’ll need to completely replace the p-trap.

However, most of the time you can get away with simply cleaning it. Dig out any sludge, mold, hair, or debris.

Use a toothbrush or bottlebrush and some mild soap and water to completely clean out all pipes.

Check the piping in the wall and the sink to ensure those are also clean. If you’ve dropped something down the drain, such as jewelry, you can check the p-trap for your lost item as well.

4. Re-install the p-trap. Take your clean pieces and begin reinstalling it. If you needed a trap replacement, then start installing your brand new replacement parts.

First insert the piping for the trap arm and the pop-up drain (the pipes coming from the wall and the sink). Make sure you have your nut and your washer on each one, and loosely screw them in.

Then, line up your p-trap piping with the other two pipes, with a nut and washer on either end of the p-trap. Tighten everything up by hand.

From there, use your pliers or wrench to tighten it another quarter turn to make sure everything is completely tight. Don’t pull it too tight, as this could crack the piping.

5. Enjoy your handiwork! Go ahead and run the tap for a few seconds, then run your hand over each part of the piping to make sure there aren’t any leaks.

Leaks could mean serious water damage under your sink, which means you’d have to call a plumbing company.

If there aren’t any leaks, you can probably assume that you did good work! Your drain should now run smoothly. If not, there may be a more serious blockage. In that case, call your local plumber.

If this doesn’t solve your problem, or if you notice water damage underneath your sink, it might be time to call your local plumber.

If you live near Santa Maria, call Zierman Plumbing today. We’ve been around since 1950, and can offer general check-ups as well as problem solving. We also offer 24/7 emergency services. We also offer several coupons on our website.

Call now to get your plumbing services fully operational!

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