5 simple steps for replacing a drain trap

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If you notice closely enough, you would observe the roughly U-shaped drain trap beneath every kitchen sink or bathroom washbasin. This component acts as a crucial part of the drainage system, as it contains water within its curved section (as seen in the image above).

This plug of water acts as a cleansing shield against harmful elements like gases and other obtrusive stuff from the sewer. So, in essence, the drain trap is not only a vital part of drainage, but is also important for direct safekeeping of your precious health.

However, the predicament lies with the numerous ways by which the drain trap can be affected. For example, years of soap usage, caustic chemicals and dirt accumulation can lead to corrosion or plugging of the curve. Sometimes too much wear and tear might even cause a leak in the trap. During such times, most of us would react by calling the plumber. Fortunately, changing a trap is not as difficult as it sounds, and might even save you a few bucks. So, without further ado, let us check out some simple steps that will allow us to replace a drain trap quite easily.

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Step 1 – As we can see from the above image, the clean out plug lies at the bottom bulge of the U-shaped trap. So, if your trap is equipped with plug, you can always remove it with a wrench and let the inside water drain out into a container or a bucket. And, if the trap doesn’t have a clean out plug, you will need to unscrew the slip nuts.

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Step 2 – The next step entails removing the slip nut at the tailpiece (again refer to the above image) that ultimately connects to your drain flange. Also remove the slip nut at the top of your trap. Then you can push the tailpiece directly into the trap, and twist the trap in a clockwise direction. This action will allow drainage of the water inside the trap. Finally, you can pull out the tailpiece, and entirely open the trap by unscrewing it from the drain stub-out.

Tip – There are also swivel types of traps that can be easily opened by the motion of twisting. However, you should always open such traps in an upright position, and drain the water out after the entire trap is open.

Step 3 – This step deals with your new drain trap mechanism along with related accessories like tailpieces, drain extensions, slip nuts and other relevant components. Now, as we mentioned in the earlier step, a swivel type drain trap is always favorable because it is much easier to adjust and clean. Moreover, a clean out plug is also welcome because it allows you to clean the curve without removing the entire trap. Finally, as for the material of the traps, Polypropylene (PP) plastic traps are perfect for their sturdiness and longevity. ABS plastic traps are also common; but you should make sure to check on them regularly as they have a tendency to warp with heavy flow of chemicals and soap.

Step 4 – Now comes the part where you assemble the whole set-up of the trap. You should always start with the tailpiece – connect the tailpiece with the bottom section of the drain flange by screwing a slip nut onto the sink strainer. After this, you should move to the lower section and attach the trap arm to the drain stub-out with the help of a slip nut (and washer). Finally, attach the trap curve (the U-shaped component) with the trap arm (once again using slip nut and washer) at one end, while the other end is coupled with the aforementioned tailpiece. As a result, you have a completely new assembly of your drain trap, perfectly connected to the tailpiece as well as the drain stub-out.

Tips – Firstly, do not over-tighten the nuts. Secondly, make sure that you have arranged the set-up in a correct alignment. Lastly, totally avoid using teflon tapes on plastic threads and fittings.

Step 5 – The main job is done, and now you have to check on how your assembly actually works in real time. For this open your sink tap and let the water drain through the assembled trap. This exercise not only fills up the trap with water (which acts as a fluid barricade to sewer gases) but also allows you to check for leaks in case of uneven or faulty arrangement.

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