What You Should Know About Outdated House Traps
Indoor plumbing was invented back in 1829 – but that doesn’t mean it’s been perfected ever since. Plumbing technology and best practices are always improving. Now and then, a common approach falls out of favor and needs to be replaced with a better way. One example of an outdated plumbing feature is the house trap that was installed in many homes up until the 1990s.
What was a house trap designed to do?
A house trap, also referred to as a building trap or sewer trap, is a plumbing feature that was fairly standard in older homes but is generally considered outdated now. The house trap is a curved pipe of the sewer line that holds a small amount of water at all times. This water creates a barrier that prevents sewer gases and pests from coming up through the sewage system and into your home.
Why are house traps no longer needed?
While good in theory, the plumbing industry realized that house traps can cause more harm than good. The material of the pipe can corrode or the trap can get clogged by household waste (and be difficult to unclog since it’s buried below ground). This can lead to a blockage and sewage backing up into the home, which causes health issues and a costly mess for homeowners.
Furthermore, each sink and tub in your home should have its own P-trap located underneath the drain, which does the same job as the house trap but is much easier to access.
Problems with house traps
If your home still has a house trap (which is possible if your home is at least 30 years old), be on the lookout for these signs there’s a problem brewing in your sewer line:
- Slow or back-up drains (especially if it happens to multiple drains at the same time)
- Toilets not flushing properly
- Foul smells (that could be sewer odors)
- Sewage back-ups, especially in the basement
Sewer line repair and clean-out installation
At any sign of a sewer line problem, be sure to call the North Shore plumbing experts at Waldman Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We can repair or replace the pipe so you don’t have a dangerous sewage back-up in your home. We can also install clean-outs, which is a more modern way to avoid sewer line clogs. To schedule an appointment, call (781) 780-3184.