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What are the different types of plumbing traps? What are they used?

Plumbing traps are essential components of drainage systems that prevent sewer gases from entering buildings while allowing wastewater to flow freely. The following are different types of traps that The Home Inspector finds in Central Alabama.

Most common type of trap
Drawing of a P trap

  1. P-Trap:

  • The P-trap is one of the most common types of plumbing traps.

  • It consists of a curved pipe shaped like the letter "P" when viewed from the side.

  • P-traps are typically used under sinks, basins, showers, and bathtubs to trap water and create a barrier against sewer gases.

S-trap. Usually found in older homes.

  1. S-Trap:

  • The S-trap is an older style of plumbing trap that is shaped like the letter "S" when viewed from the side.

  • It consists of a horizontal inlet pipe that connects directly to a vertical outlet pipe.

  • S-traps are less common in modern plumbing systems due to their tendency to siphon water out of the trap, potentially allowing sewer gases to enter the building.

  • They were traditionally used under sinks and basins, but they are now largely replaced by P-traps.

Drum trap in a crawlspace
Drum trap - usually found under bathrooms

  1. Drum Trap:

  • Drum traps are larger, cylindrical traps that consist of a drum-shaped container with an inlet and outlet pipe.

  • They were once commonly used in older plumbing systems but are now considered outdated and may pose maintenance and sanitation issues.

  • Drum traps have largely been replaced by more efficient and easier-to-maintain traps like P-traps.

These are some of the most common types of plumbing traps used in residential, commercial, and industrial plumbing systems. The choice of trap depends on factors such as space constraints, plumbing codes and regulations, and the specific requirements of the plumbing installation.


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