Rehabbing A House

How To Repair A Leaky Sink P Trap

The P-trap is one of the most critical components in a kitchen or bathroom sink. It allows for a smooth flow of your kitchen and bathroom plumbing drains. WIthout a proper P trap flammable gases, odors and potentially vermin can make your household unsanitary. A P-Trap is the U-shaped pipe positioned under your sink and bathtub. It's purpose is to hold enough water to prevent any leakage of sewer gases into your plumbing pipes.


It's important that you be able to clean your P-traps on demand. Since P-traps require occasional cleaning they are designed in such a way that is easy to access. For instance, the compression nuts connecting the sink trap to the waste arm are easy to hand tighten. When done properly a p-trap connection should be watertight throughout. Remember, in most cases, and the P-trap leaks are as a result of either loose nuts which you must tighten, misaligned pipes or poor sealing of the P-trap washer.

How to correctly identify a leaky p trap

Note, unlike the water leakage from a pressurized water pipe, a P-trap leakage is directly from your draining sink which in most cases is difficult to realize until you see a pool of water collecting on the bottom of kitchen/bathroom cabinet. Yes, if you notice a wet cabinet, but you can’t identify water oozing from any of your pipes or connecting junctions, it is high time you check the performance of your P-trap.

First, Fill your sink with clean water, open the water stopper and keenly watch your trap while water drains. Notice that water leakage from a junction will flow along the main pipe before dripping from a certain point (lowest).

Second, in case of two or more connections but you can’t accurately identify the one leaking, wrap a piece of cloth or your fingers around the connection or under the connection and notice at which point water is pooling around the piece of your cloth. Yes, identifying the leaking point is the first step toward coming up with a lasting solution.

How to tighten up your loose P-Trap junction

Once you verify that your P-trap compression collar is loose and leaking you need to tighten it up. Although you can use your very hands to tighten up your P-trap collar connection, a pair of locking pliers can do better in case you can’t gather sufficient strength to stop this leaking. Besides, if your P-trap has a chrome steel finishing, you will be required to use the above tightening gear. However, refrain from overdoing it since this could end up cracking or stripping your junction nut. Remember it is recommended to use at least two pairs of pliers if you decide to use pliers instead of your hands. One pair of your pliers is to hold the pipe steady while the other pair tightens the nuts otherwise the torque you’ll be applying can result in a misaligned trap connection causing further leaking problems.

How to disassemble a leaking Trap and fix it

Remember, sometimes it may be challenging to stop a p trap leak by tightening all compression collar and in such as case the best thing is to disconnect the entire P-trap connection, fixing the mess and finally assembling it back. Yes, by pulling it apart, you get a chance to see the reason for your Trap leaking. For instance, a curved pipe, particularly the one entering the collar could be the reason for the partial sealing of the P-trap waster or a shorter connecting pipe causing leakage at the minor gaps. Note that a P-trap washer is made of a plastic ring designed to perfectly slide along the larger (male) part and also the taper that fits inside the smaller (female) part of the system.

It, therefore, means that a slight misalignment resulting in the pipes sitting at an angle or installing the collar upside down is an error that you can only rectify by redoing the connection work. Besides, ensure to replace a nicked or cracked washer since it could also be a reason for water leaks. Also, the sink drain should align perfectly with your waste outlet otherwise this would mean your P-trap connection are at an angle which might require you to disassemble the entire P-trap system and rebuilt it until you attain serial connections.

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