How to Fix a Broken Drain Trap

Charlotte plumber

Sometimes the problem is simply that the slip nuts holding the drain trap assembly to the drain and the drainpipe have loosened. Tightening them may solve the problem. But if the metal has corroded through, if the slip-nut threads are damaged, or if other damage has occurred, the only solution is replacement.

Drain trap assemblies and parts to fit just about any possible installation requirement are readily available at most hardware and all plumbing supply stores. Chrome-plated thinwall brass traps are popular, especially where appearance is important.

Polypropylene (PP) plastic traps, notable for their ruggedness and longevity, will outperform all other types. ABS plastic traps are also in use, but they become deformed and eventually fail when forced to handle frequent passage of boiling water and caustic household chemicals. In addition, they may not be allowed by your local plumbing code. Ask the plumbing clerk at your local building materials retailer for recommendations.

Whatever the material, there are typically two trap diameters: 11/2-inch traps for kitchen sinks and 11/4-inch traps for lavatories. Take the old trap with you when you buy the new one; if possible, also take the old tailpiece and drain extension. In most cases, trap replacement is simple. Here's how:

Step 1: If trap is equipped with cleanout plug on bottom of curved section, remove plug with wrench and let water in trap drain into bucket. Otherwise, unscrew slip nuts and slide them out of the way.

Step 2: If trap is a swivel type, curved trap section(s) will come free. However, keep trap upright as you remove it, and pour water out after part is free. If trap is fixed and does not swivel, remove tailpiece slip nut at drain flange and slip nut at top of trap. Shove tailpiece down into trap itself, then twist trap clockwise until you can drain water in trap. Pull tailpiece free, and unscrew trap from drain extension or drainpipe.

Step 3: Buy drain trap of proper diameter, new tailpiece, drain extension, or other fittings, as necessary. A swivel trap is the easiest to work with because it can be easily adjusted for angled or misaligned drainpipe/fixture installations. A clean-out plug on a trap is handy so trap can be cleaned out without removing it.

Step 4: Replace parts in appropriate order, making sure you have slip nuts and compression seals, or large washers, lined up on the proper pipe sections. Couple parts together loosely with slip nuts, make final adjustments for correct pipe alignment, and tighten nuts snugly but not too tight. Plumbers' joint tape or compound is not usually necessary, but you can use either.

Step 5: Run water into new trap immediately, both to check for leaks and to fill trap with water to provide that all-important barrier against sewer gases.

Whatever type of drain repair is needed, it's best to address it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may wind up with a big problem on your hands -- and all over your floors.

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Emergency Plumbing Stanley NC, How to Fix a Broken Drain Trap

Emergency Plumbing Charlotte NC

Article Summary

Quick question & answer: How do I fix a broken drain trap?

To fix a broken drain trap, first remove the plug, letting water drain into a bucket. Keep the trap upright as you remove it, pouring water out after part is free. Buy a drain tap of proper diameter, new tailpiece, drain extension, or other fittings, as necessary. Replace parts in the appropriate order then immediately run water into the trap.


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