Chase the Plumber Logo

Call us Today!!

What Is A P-Trap In Plumbing

This is one of those things you might not think about until you encounter an issue, but it’s good to know!

What Is a P-Trap?

So, let’s start with the basics. A P-trap is that U-shaped bend in a plumbing pipe you’ll often see under your sink, although you’ll also find them in other places like the drain line of your shower and toilet. It’s a simple yet ingenious invention, and it’s been a standard part of plumbing for years. Ever wonder why you don’t smell sewage every time you walk into the bathroom? Well, you have the P-trap to thank for that!

Why Is It Called a P-Trap?

Interesting tidbit: The P-trap gets its name because it literally looks like a “P” on its side. Simple, right? It’s an easy way to remember it.

How Does a P-Trap Work?

What is a p trap

So, you might be wondering how this piece of plumbing does its job. It’s pretty straightforward, really. The curve of the pipe holds a small amount of water that acts as a barrier between the open sewer line and your home. When wastewater goes down the drain, it has to go through this water barrier. That way, sewer gases can’t make their way back up the pipes and into your living spaces. Clever, huh?

Why Is It Important?

Well, besides keeping sewer gas and nasty smells at bay, the P-trap also helps capture small items that might accidentally drop and go down the drain—like wedding rings or small toys. If something like that happens, there’s a good chance it’ll end up in the P-trap, making it easier for you (or us!) to retrieve it.

Maintenance Tips

Maintenance tips to stop smelly sewer gases

Even though P-traps are fairly low-maintenance, they’re not entirely set-it-and-forget-it. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to clean them out. Debris like hair and soap scum can build up over time, leading to clogs. You don’t want to find out your P-trap needs cleaning when water starts backing up into the sink, trust me.

What to Do When Problems Arise

Plumbing issues can be frustrating, but don’t worry—many problems with P-traps are straightforward to address. Here’s what you can do when you encounter issues with plumbing pipes:

Smelly Odors

If you’re getting a foul smell from your back drain pipe, it could be that the water in the P-trap has evaporated, allowing sewer gases to enter your home. This often happens in sinks or drains that you don’t use often. Simply running water for a few seconds can refill the trap and stop sewer gases from making its way up the pipe. If the smell persists, it might be time to give us a call. There could be a more serious issue at hand.

Slow Drainage

A slow-draining sink is often a sign of a partial clog. Before you reach for harsh chemical drain cleaners, try using a plunger. If that doesn’t work, you might need to manually clean the drain cleaner. P-trap. Put a bucket under the trap to catch any water, then open the connectors and remove the trap. Clean it out and reattach it. Still having problems? That’s what we’re here for!

Slow water flow from sink

Frequent Clogs

If you’re frequently experiencing clogs, it could be that your P-trap is damaged or incorrectly installed. In this case, it’s best to consult a professional like us. Repeated issues can be a sign of a bigger problem in your home’s plumbing system.


Notice water pooling in the waste pipe under your sink? Leaks can occur if the P-trap connectors are loose or if the trap itself has corroded. You can try tightening the connectors yourself. If that doesn’t solve it, or if the trap is corroded, it’s time for a replacement. Leaks can cause water damage over time, so it’s best to address this issue as soon as possible.

Lost Items

Dropped something valuable down the drain? Don’t panic—there’s a good chance it’s caught in the P-trap. Turn off the water, place a bucket under the drain snake of the trap, and carefully disassemble it. With a bit of luck, you’ll find your lost item. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, we’re just a call away.

When to Call a Professional

While it’s good to know what a P-trap is and how it works, sometimes it’s best to leave the nitty-gritty of the municipal sewer system to the Edmond plumbing professionals. If you’re experiencing consistent clogs or bad smells, it might be time to call us in. We’ve been serving the Oklahoma community for years, and we’d be happy to help you out!

So, that’s the scoop on P-traps! I hope this clears up any questions you might have had. And remember, if you ever run into any plumbing issues, don’t hesitate to give Chase The Plumber a call. We’re always here to help you out.

How to plunge a toilet
How To

How to plunge a toilet

Facing a stubbornly clogged toilet and not sure where to start? No worries! I’ve got a simple, step-by-step guide that’ll turn you into a toilet

Read More »
How To Use Plumbers Putty
How To

How To Use Plumbers Putty

Hello there! So, you’ve got yourself a little plumbing task, and you’ve heard about this magic substance called plumber’s putty. Well, you’re in luck. Plumber’s

Read More »
How to apply teflon tape correctly
Plumbing Facts

How To Use Plumbers Tape?

When it comes to DIY plumbing repairs, having the right tools and techniques at your disposal is crucial. One such tool that’s a must-have in

Read More »