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If a plumber has ever visited your home, you would've heard them talking about plumbing traps and if you haven't, take a quick peek beneath your sink, and you will find out what they are talking about.

Yes, you guess it right.

The curvy pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sink are what is known as a plumbing trap. But unlike what you might think, they are not designed to catch on things you accidentally drop down your sink or hold on to things that shouldn't go down the drain. While they may also occasionally perform this function, they are designed to capture something else.

In this post, we look at everything that you need to know about plumbing traps.

What are Plumbing Traps?

Plumbing traps trap something that you may find mundane yet dangerous; sewer gases include methane and another less commonly known gas, hydrogen sulfide. Some other gases are also a part of sewer gases, including nitrogen and carbon monoxide. Moreover, mold spores can also be a part of the sewer gases.

All of these gases can cause several problems if they enter your home or your commercial building. Methane is highly flammable and can even be explosive. On the other hand, hydrogen sulfide is a sulfuric gas with a terrible odor that can also lead to several health concerns. There are several other health concerns associated with the accumulation of sewer gases in your home or commercial facility, and that's where you need plumbing traps to ensure the health and wellbeing of your loved ones.

How Do Plumbing Traps Work?

Plumbing traps use water to prevent the sewer gases from entering your residential or commercial facility, which forms a barrier between your fixture and the sewer line. So as long as the water sits in the trap, it doesn’t let the gas escape the trap and keep your home or office safe.

However, not all types of plumbing traps are created equal. They vary in their designs, and that can affect their function. So let's take a look at different types of plumbing traps and learn more about the efficient ones and are a better choice for you.

Different Types of Plumbing Traps

Plumbing traps are available in several different shapes, including U, S, J, and Q; however, the most commonly used plumbing traps are 'P' shaped plumbing traps, usually located below your fixture.

Several other plumbing traps can be installed within your fixtures, such as urinals, water closets, and bidets. However, some of the plumbing trap designs that are now considered obsolete include the following.

Drum Traps

As the name suggests, drum traps resemble the shape of metal drums and are among one of the most popular choices for plumbing traps at home. They are relatively large and can hold more volume of water that works as a barrier. Moreover, they can also capture small items that accidentally go down the drain.

However, drum traps are more prone to clogs and need frequent plumbing maintenance, which is why most homeowners avoid them now.


S-traps closely resemble the shape of the letter S. These traps are no longer used in modern plumbing as the trap's shape allows the water to be completely sucked out of the trap. As a result, sewer gas can enter your home or commercial facility and pose a serious plumbing and health concern.

Bell Traps

Another type of plumbing trap that is now considered obsolete is the bell trap. This plumbing trap utilizes a depression on the surface of the drain with a bell-shaped component that fits over the vertical drain. Together the two components maintain a water trap that helps trap sewer gases. Bell traps were usually used for the outdoor drain. However, they are no longer used as they are prone to drying out and accumulate organic matter, leading to clogs and other plumbing concerns.

If you are looking for plumbing traps for your drains and fixtures, get in touch with a professional plumber, and they can guide you on what type of plumbing traps are best for you.

Common Problems Associated with Plumbing Traps

The last bit of information you need to know about plumbing traps is related to some of the common problems associated with plumbing traps. Here is a list of a few issues that you might experience with plumbing traps at your home or commercial facility. And as soon as you face any problem, instead of trying out any DIY techniques and causing more damage to your plumbing structure, it is best to get in touch with a professional plumber.

A Dry Trap

It is one of the most common problems associated with plumbing traps. The trap loses the water due to evaporation, allowing sewer gases to escape and get into your home or commercial facility.

A Clogged Plumbing Trap

It is also common for your plumbing trap to get blocked or clogged due to debris or other organic matter. The problem is more common in outdoor plumbing traps.

Now that you know almost everything you need to know about plumbing traps, you are equipped with all the information you need to take care of your home or commercial facility and your loved ones. Let's not forget that most of the plumbing problems you face are often a symptom of some underlying problem, so as soon as you feel that sewer gases are entering your home, do not wait. Instead, immediately get in touch with a professional plumbing company such as Mesa Plumbing Company.  Our expert staff can perform a detailed inspection and identify all your plumbing needs, so your home's drain flow properly and your plumbing traps function the way they should.

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