What is the u-tube under my sink? | Weatherization Services in Las Vegas (2023)

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(Video) How to fix a leak under your sink.


Have you ever wondered why the drain pipe under the kitchen and bathroom sink doesn't go directly to the floor or why it's U-shaped? This section of your drain pipe is called a trap and is an essential part of your sewage disposal system. Without them, wastewater gases would return directly through your sink drains and rush through your home.

The plumbing trap has two main purposes:

  • To prevent sewer gases from entering your living space. The bend in the pipe, known as an odor trap, ensures that the sewer system is hermetically separated from the interior of your home. Like the rest of the sewage system, it relies on gravity to keep the water flowing. Whether you have a septic tank or municipal waste disposal system, organic waste creates fumes and gases that can be polluting when it enters your home. If the goal of the sewage aspect of your facility is to isolate organic waste from the home owner, then the under sink trap is an essential aspect of that.

  • To prevent foreign objects from blocking your entire plumbing system. Imagine if your sink drain on the second floor of your house went straight to the floor. If you've ever dropped a ring, toy, or other foreign object down a drain, you're probably glad to have this trap in there. Prevent small blockages from becoming big ones.

Before it was U-shaped (or P-shaped, as many call it), the trap was S-shaped. Its design allows water to pass through while sealing out rising odors, but if a drain is not in use for Over a long period of time, the water in the odor trap can dry up. If you have bad odors coming from your drains, there may be something wrong with your siphon.

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    What is the U pipe under the sink? ›

    This plug prevents sewer gases from coming up the wastewater line and out the sink. It also can trap small objects that fall down the sink, such as jewelry, making it easier to extract them.

    What is the purpose of the U trap under sink? ›

    To prevent sewer gasses from entering your living space. The pipe bend known as the trap ensures that there is a water seal separating the sewage system from the inside of your home.

    What are the things under the sink called? ›

    A garbage disposal unit (also known as a waste disposal unit, garbage disposer, garburator etc.) is a device, usually electrically powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink's drain and the trap.

    Why is there a vent pipe under my sink? ›

    A vent is a necessary part of the drain system for any plumbing fixture. Its purpose is to equalize pressure in the pipes and prevent a vacuum from forming as the fixture drains.

    What is vent pipe under kitchen sink? ›

    A plumbing vent pipe works alongside your drain pipes, except it doesn't carry water. Instead, it regulates the air in your plumbing system. Also called a vent stack or plumbing air vent, the vent pipe regulates airflow to assure waste and water flows through pipes that drain out of your house.

    What does trap look like under kitchen sink? ›

    If you look below your kitchen or bathroom sink, you will notice a U- or S-shaped curved pipe coming down from the drain opening. This is the drain trap.

    Should all sinks have U bends? ›

    Newcomers to bathroom plumbing sometimes ask, 'why do I need a U bend? ' The simple answer is that the water trapped in the U bend acts as a barrier to the foul smells that otherwise rise from the sewer or other drainage pipework. This is why it is an absolute requirement in the building regulations.

    What does a sink trap look like? ›

    If you look at the drain pipe under your sink, you'll see a curve in the pipe that resembles the shape of a “U” or a “P.” That's an example of a P-trap. A P-trap is a bend in a drain and waste pipe with a specific purpose.

    How do you fix a leaky PVC pipe under the kitchen sink? ›

    Different Ways to Fix a Leaky PVC Pipe
    1. Fiberglass resin tape: Fiberglass resin tape works well for temporary repairs intended to slow damage. ...
    2. Epoxy putty: Epoxy putty essentially plugs the hole, crack or leak in the pipe to create a new surface. ...
    3. Silicone repair tape: Silicone repair tape works well for small repairs.
    Jun 13, 2022

    What is a sink drain flange? ›

    What Is a Sink Flange? A sink flange connects the sink drain to a section of pipe called a tailpiece to create a tight seal. It is made of metal and sits around the edge of the drain rather like a collar, and it usually has a grid-like section covering the drain that looks like a strainer.

    What is the curved pipe under the sink called? ›

    That Piece of Pipe Is Called the “P-Trap

    The p-trap is an ancient plumbing invention that operates using gravity. When water stops flowing down the drain, gravity traps water in the curved section. This water serves as a barrier between the open drain of the sink (or shower, bathtub, etc.)

    What is the thing on my kitchen sink? ›

    The valve is actually for the dishwasher and is commonly known as the dishwasher air gap. An air gap's purpose is to prevent drain water from the kitchen sink backing up into the dishwasher, contaminating your cleanly washed dishes. Now that you know what it is, how does it actually work?

    How do I know if my sink vent is clogged? ›

    Here are the top three signs and symptoms that serve as warnings that your plumbing vent is clogged:
    1. Gurgling toilets and drains.
    2. Strong sewage smells.
    3. Sluggish drains.

    Do air admittance valves stink? ›

    Odor is frequently an indicator of a faulty air admittance valve. As odors from your RV's gray tank escape into the living space, the noticeable smell will grow stronger, often to an unbearable level that you can't ignore. So, if you smell something foul, check this valve first.

    What happens if plumbing is not vented? ›

    Poorly-vented drain lines will not be able to effectively move wastewater and solid waste out of your building. This could lead to problems such as overflowing drains, backed-up toilets, and similar plumbing issues.

    What is the difference between a drain pipe and a vent pipe? ›

    Drainage pipes carry waste out of your home either to the city sewer or a septic tank. Plumbing vent pipes supply fresh air to each plumbing fixture in the house, which helps the system move water through the drainage pipes each time a toilet is flushed or a sink is drained.

    Will a sink drain without a vent? ›

    Without drain vents, gases will build up in plumbing pipes and drains and keep water from flowing freely. This will prevent air from leaving the pipes, causing backups, odors, clogged toilets and other problems.

    How do you unblock a trap under the sink? ›

    A more friendly solution to unblocking a sink uses a simple mix of baking soda and vinegar. First, pour a load of baking powder down your plughole. Then tip in the vinegar. You'll hear a lot of fizzing, and may even get some froth coming back up the plughole.

    Why is it called a pee trap? ›

    A P-trap is a U-shaped pipe under sinks and other plumbing fixtures. It's called a P-trap because it looks like a P on its side and it traps water.

    Do I need a trap under kitchen sink? ›

    The purpose is to have a low spot in the pipe that will trap enough water to completely block the pipe. Without it you'll get sewer smells coming up through the drain.

    What happens if my sink doesn't have an air gap? ›

    For example, when a sink drain becomes clogged, the hose leading to the drain will start to siphon the wastewater back into appliances. Without an air gap (or other means of backflow prevention) your dishwasher will flood with contaminated water.

    How do you unblock a sink without U bend? ›

    Just pour a small amount of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. As the baking soda and vinegar start to work, you will hear a fizzing noise. Leave for a few minutes, and use hot water to wash the mixture down the drain. Another method is to use soda crystals to unblock the sink.

    Why do Americans need double sinks? ›

    The most common reason to choose a double sink is that you need more space because you share the bathroom with another person. "Couples these days usually prefer the idea of two sinks for one simple reason," architect Thayer Hopkins told Houzz. "They lead busy lives and need access to the bathroom at the same time."

    Does every sink need a trap? ›

    Even if you are meticulous about never dropping things down the drain, you still need a p-trap under your sink to keep gas out. Sewer gases can rise through the drain pipes in your home, but the u-shaped bend in the p-trap collects water. This water blocks the gases from rising up into your sink.

    How do you tell if a drain has a trap? ›

    Pour some water down the drain --> disconnect the drain --> take a flashlight and look into the drain where it enters the floor --> if the drain pipe has water in it then it likely has a trap.

    Should all sinks have a trap? ›

    Every sink, wash basin, and urinal discharging water inside a building requires a water trap at the point of connection into the waste pipework. The water trap provides a water seal between the appliance and the external drains or outside atmosphere.

    Can you seal a leaking PVC pipe? ›

    Silicone Repair Tape for PVC Pipe Repairs

    An excellent option to create an air and water-tight seal is using strong, conformable silicone rubber repair tape. Available for purchase online and in-stores, silicone repair tape is a stretchy, durable solution to wrap around the source of the PVC leak.

    How do I seal the pipe under my kitchen sink? ›

    You can fill holes around pipes under a kitchen sink (or any other sink in your home) by filling them with steel wool or copper wool and then sealing the patch with caulk, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For best results, use silicone caulk.

    Why is my kitchen sink leaking around the edges? ›

    Some of the typical causes of sink leaks include:

    Faucet leaks (often from worn gaskets or failed washers) Water line corrosion or failing gasket. P trap corrosion, loose connection, or blockage. Dried putty along the drain.

    How do I remove a sink drain blocker? ›

    To remove the stopper, you'll need to go under the sink and unscrew the pivot rod arm connected to the sink drain pipe. You may need pliers or a wrench to help twist the arm off. Pull out the arm, including the round plug attached to it. Then, return to the sink and pull the stopper out.

    How do you remove a sink pipe that is glued? ›

    Here's how to do this:
    1. Use a hair dryer or candle to heat up the area where the two joints were glued. Keep the candle at a slight distance. ...
    2. After the heat was applied, gently pull apart the PVC pipes. Twisting and loosening them will work.
    3. If heat doesn't work, then you may need to try the third option.

    How do I remove a sink drain flange? ›

    Here's what to do:
    1. Step 1: Remove the Coupling Nut. The coupling nut is a large ring-shaped nut that joins the flange basket to the drain pipe. ...
    2. Step 2: Remove the Locknut. Using your slip-joint pliers, twist the locknut between the flange assembly and the bottom of the sink to remove it. ...
    3. Step 3: Pull Out the Drain Flange.
    Sep 25, 2021

    What is a plumber flange? ›

    A toilet flange, also called a closet flange, is a pipe fitting that connects a toilet to the drainage system while also securing it to the finished floor. A toilet flange securely attaches a toilet to the home's drainage system through an approved connection method.

    What does a flange plunger look like? ›

    Flange plungers look very similar to cup plungers. The difference is that a flange plunger has a longer handle and a soft, smaller cup (known as a flange) that extends down the bottom end of the plunger.

    How do you seal a sink flange? ›

    Just follow these steps to put a seal around a kitchen sink.
    1. Remove old sealant. Scrape it off with a putty knife or cutting tool. ...
    2. Clean the area. Avoid exposing the surface to water. ...
    3. Prepare the silicone sealant. ...
    4. Apply the sealant. ...
    5. Smooth the sealant. ...
    6. Remove excess sealant. ...
    7. Wait for the sealant to dry.

    What is the black water pipe called? ›

    Black poly pipe (polyethylene or PE pipe) is used in many facets of home plumbing, both for drinking water lines and other applications inside a residential house. This type of pipe is available in very long rolls for the water main between the meter and the house and for sprinkler systems.

    What is a sink drip edge? ›

    What is a drip rail? Also called drip edge or ledge, drip rails are a strip of material (typically wood) mounted below sinks to protect the cabinet doors from dripping water. It is designed to divert water away from the face of the cabinetry via a channel routed along the underside.

    What is the black thing under the sink? ›

    That black substance that keeps seeping into your sink or toilet is usually bacteria that's clinging to waste in your drain lines. This bacteria tends to grow and spread over time, particularly because the matter that goes down these drains is organic in nature, providing a food source for the bacteria to live on.

    What does a kitchen sink aerator look like? ›

    A faucet aerator looks like a small end piece for the faucet with a mesh screen disk.

    What is that thing on kitchen sink next to faucet? ›

    Reddit user @dominostracker wondered the exact same thing, and according to a few wonderful human beings who took the time to answer, that thing is an air gap. It helps prevent dirty water from the dishwasher flowing back through the pipes and contaminating the clean water.

    What is PVC U pipe used for? ›

    PVC-U is the most common PVC type for pipes and fittings including transportation of drinking water, soil and waste, sewage and underground drainage and industrial applications.

    How does a sink U bend work? ›

    The water sits in the U bend where it forms a blockage for gas trying to get back into the room. The water will sit just below the level of the outlet bend (seen in the image left where it says, waste out) until more water is introduced from the incoming pipe.

    What are the two valves under the sink? ›

    Under-sink shutoff valves, also called fixture shutoffs or stop valves, allow you to turn off the water to your sink (or other fixtures) without having to use your home's main shutoff.

    How do you know if your U Bend is under the sink? ›

    Look under your sink and find the U-bend, it's the first bend in the pipe immediately below the plughole. Put your bucket/dish under the U-bend and carefully unscrew the section of pipe. The U-bend has two sets of threads, one at either end. As you loosen them any backed up water will drain out, so take your time.

    What is the difference between PVC and PVC-U? ›

    The main difference between these plastics is the flexibility of them. PVC is extremely flexible and malleable as a plastic which can be useful for a whole range of products. On the other hand, PVCu is not flexible at all and is an extremely rigid plastic.

    What is the U shaped drain pipe called? ›

    That U-shape is called the P-trap

    You may think of the bend in the pipe under the sink as a “U,” put plumbers call it a P-trap.

    What is the difference between PVC-U and UPVC? ›

    Simply put, there is no difference between the UPVC and PVCu because the two abbreviations represent the same material being Un-plasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride. Installers use UPVC in the promotion windows, doors and other home improvement products but it is also referred to as PVCu.

    Can I Removing the U-bend on a sink? ›

    Removing and cleaning the U-bend

    If the drain cleaner or using a plunger does not clear the blockage, the U-bend assembly can be removed and cleaned quite easily. Put a large bowl underneath the U-bend to catch the flow when the U-bend is removed.

    How do you remove and clean U-bend under sink? ›

    Unclogging the U-bend

    Unscrew the threaded caps on the ends of the U-bend. Hold the U-bend while you do this so it doesn't fall off. Once you've removed the last threaded cap, carefully remove the U-bend, with the bucket in position underneath. You should see some water drain out from the sink.

    How do I fix a leaky U-bend sink? ›

    If the leak is occurring at one of the joints between pipes, try tightening the coupling nuts. On a metal trap, tighten them hand tight plus about a half turn, using slip-joint pliers to grip the nut. On a plastic trap, just hand tighten, and, if needed, give the nut about a quarter of a turn with slip-joint pliers.

    How much does it cost to replace a shut-off valve under a kitchen sink? ›

    The average cost to replace water shut-off valves is $285. The price depends on the quality of the valve, additional tools needed and whether or not you hire a plumber.
    Average Cost to Replace Water Shut-Off Valve
    Average Cost$285
    Highest Cost$600
    Lowest Cost$150
    Jan 25, 2023

    What are the three shut off valves under kitchen sink? ›

    Under kitchen sinks, there will typically be three shut off valves. The two uppermost valves will be the hot and cold valves for the sink faucet. The lower valve is for the dishwasher. Conventionally, these valves would connect to the faucet in the same way as bathroom valves/faucets with replaceable supply lines.

    Do you need a shut-off valve under sink? ›

    The toilet, the shower, the bathroom sink, and every other plumbing in your home should have their own shut-off valve.


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