Waste Components Of Plumbing Fixtures

Originally, the pipe that carried wastewater from a plumbing fixture ran directly to the sewer. Foul-smelling gases from the anaerobic (without oxygen) digestion in the sewer could travel back up the pipe and create a health threat indoors.

The trap (Fig. 10-2) was invented to block the waste pipe near the fixture so that gas couldn't pass back up into the building. The trap is a U-shaped or S-shaped section of drainpipe that holds wastewater. The trap forms a seal to prevent the passage of sewer gas while allowing wastewater or sewage to flow through it. Traps are made of steel, cast iron, copper, plastic, or brass. On water closets and urinals, they are an integral part of the vitreous china fixture, with wall outlets for wall-hung units and floor outlets for other types.

Drum traps are sometimes found on bathtubs in i( older homes. A drum trap is a cylindrical trap made from iron, brass, or lead, with a screw top or bottom. Water from the tub enters near the bottom and exits near the top, so the wastewater fills the trap and creates a water plug before flowing out. Sometimes the screw-off top, called a cleanout, is plated with chrome or brass and left exposed in the floor so it can be opened for cleaning. Drum traps can cause drainage problems because debris settles and collects in the trap. If not cleaned out regularly, these traps eventually get com-

Figure 10-2 Trap.

pletely clogged up. Drum traps should be replaced during remodeling.

Every fixture must have a trap, and every trap must have a vent. Each time the filled trap is emptied, the wastewater scours the inside of the trap and washes debris away. Some fixtures have traps as an integral part of their design, including toilets and double kitchen sinks. There are a few exceptions to the rule that each fixture should have its own trap. Two laundry trays and a kitchen sink, or three laundry trays, may share a single trap. Three lavatories are permitted on one trap.

Traps should be within 0.61 meters (2 ft) of a fixture and be accessible for cleaning. If the fixture isn't used often, the water may evaporate and break the seal of the trap. This sometimes happens in unoccupied buildings and with rarely used floor drains.

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