What Is a P-Trap & Why Do You Need One

What Is a P-Trap & Why Do You Need One Monday, February 04, 2019

This diagram of a typical p-trap that can be found in Plant City shows how it is efficient at trapping debris.

There are certain parts of every household that we typically may not give much thought towards. And yet, they serve some type of vital function. A great example of such a household component that we take for granted comes in the form of the p-trap. This unremarkable-looking item is actually a very important part of your plumbing!

P-traps act as a sort of filter. They are the part of a pipe with a dip in them to hold water at an even level and prevents air and extreme odors from entering your home or place of business. Think of these as a line of defense that keeps sewer gases from entering your bathrooms and kitchens.

For a more visual cue, look under a sink and look at the pipe leading up to the basin of it. See that u-shaped dip right under the drain? That’s one of the most common forms of a p-trap.

What Are Some Functions of a P-Trap

In addition to the “air-filter” function mentioned above, p-traps also provide the following functions:

  1. P-traps help the natural flow of water by acting as a half-filled reservoir, making activities like flushing and draining happen easier.
  2. They help to prevent clogs from forming deeper in the plumbing system, by trapping debris closer to the drain.
  3. A dry p-trap can be an early sign of other plumbing damage or leaks.

PVC Versus Metal P-Traps

PVC p--trap that was installed in a home located in Lakeland.

P-traps basically come in two varieties...metal and pvc. There are advantages and disadvantages to both materials, such as:

  • Metal P-Traps - The advantage to metal p-traps is mainly that they are heat resistant and are the first choice if hot water will constantly be used. They are also used in large buildings. The downside of metal p-traps is their lifespan. They generally need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years, due to corrosion.
  • PVC P-Traps - PVC has a far longer lifespan because corrosion is not a concern. However, pvc p-traps are not found in large buildings, because they are not heat resistant and do not fit the fire code requirements of many municipalities.

Residents in Plant City, Lakeland, Winter Haven and all surrounding areas in FL are required by the state to have p-traps.

In addition to the purposes these traps serve, they are also required by state building codes in order to provide a basic barrier from sewer gases, which often contain hazardous and flammable substances like methane. Most of these gases are horrible when you smell them, but moreover are ignitable.

FL state building regulations require that residents in Plant City, Lakeland, Winter Haven, and most other areas in the state, p-traps need to be at every drain and water access point.

Call us if you smell foul odors coming from your drain.

If you smell foul odors coming from any of your water access points or drains, please let us know immediately so we can get to you ASAP. Just call us at (863) 667-6364. One of our helpful service representatives will be more than happy to dispatch one of our amazing, certified plumbers.

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