Did you know that S traps, P Traps, U bends, Bottle Traps and floor waste drains are designed to retain a small amount of water after the fixture’s use? This water in the trap or drain creates a seal that prevents sewage odours from passing through the drain pipes and plumbing and back into the room the drain has been installed in – e.g. In the bathroom, toilet, laundry, or kitchen – or anywhere else a sink, trap, or floor waste drain has been installed.
Sometimes factors such as low occupancy rate of the home, very hot, dry weather, and how frequently a fixture or drain is used can result in the water within a trap or drain drying out, and odours travelling back up the pipes and making themselves known in your bathroom or kitchen areas. This has the potential to happen in ANY home, anywhere, with ANY type of sewerage connection or treatment plant as it is nothing to do with the end destination of the sewage (or the plant or connection) and everything to do with the design and working concept of the “water lock” within the trap or drain. Drain dries out, odours travel out! Drain retains water, smells go where they oughta – away from your home!
So how do you monitor your traps and drains for water to help prevent odours?
Shine a torch down your floor waste drains. If you see water the drain is sealed, but if you can see down the pipe the drain is dry. Remedy: Pour water down the drain until you see that the drain has retained water and the pipe is not visible when you shine your torch down the drain.
S traps, P traps, U bends and Bottle traps are usually connected to plumbed in fixtures such as sinks, tubs, showers etc etc. Regular use of these fixtures should help ensure your traps and drains remain sealed. If you have a low occupancy rate in your home run all of your fixtures periodically to ensure that each drain remains sealed. If you are planning to go away for an extended period of time run all of your fixtures before you leave, and on your return, and periodically thereafter.
If you find that bad smells occur despite monitoring of the drains, and with the “water lock/s” in place, it may be time to consult a licensed plumber to help you locate the cause of the odour.
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