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Removing and replacing sink trap components


Step 1. Before removing a sink trap, place a bucket under the trap to catch water that spills out. Loosen the slip nut at one end of the trap (a P-trap is seen here). Use channel-type pliers if the nut won’t unscrew by hand.



Step 2. Loosen the slip nut on the other end of the trap and pull both nuts away from the union. You will find a compression washer at each union. Slide these back as well and remove the trap by pulling down on it.



Step 3. Keep track of slip nuts and washers and note their up down orientation. Clean out debris within the trap and examine it. If the trap or the slip nuts and washers are in poor repair (very common), purchase replacement parts, making sure they are made from the same material and are the same size as the rest of the trap.



Step 4. Reassemble the trap pieces just as they came off, or follow instructions on replacement parts. If the trap is made of plastic, hand tighten only Wrap Teflon tape onto the male threads of metal cubes and then tighten a quarter turn beyond hand tight with channel-type pliers. Tighten joints that leak.



what if your trap looks like this?



Some sink, tub, and shower traps are made out of the same heavy plastic (Schedule 40 PVC) or metal as the rest of your DWV plumbing and do not fit together like light plastic or chromed drain traps. But even if some parts are permanently fused together by a process called solvent-welding (these typically have a tell-tale purple band of color around the joint) you may still be able to access the trap by untwisting a union. Threaded joints are a sign that you’ve got a removable trap.



To access the trap, simply unscrew the joint fit tings as on the previous page. Unlike a tubular trap, the nut at the DWV trap arm union unscrews counterclockwise from below. That’s because the nut faces up instead of down. The slip nut on the fixture side of the trap is loosened like that of a tubular trap.



What if my trap is permanently solvent- welded to the drain and trap arm?


Often, bathtubs or showers have a drain trap system that is completely solvent-welded together, making it impossible to disassemble without cutting the pipes. But if you’re lucky, the trap will have a cleanout plug at the bottom, like the one above.



The cleanout plug can be removed to clear the trap and retrieve lost items. Try hand-loosening the plug first, although unless your plumbing is virtually brand new you’ll probably need an adjustable wrench to remove the plug. Fair warning--your hand is very likely to be drenched with fairly disgusting drain water, but hopefully, it will be worth it.





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