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Plumbing drain trap or interceptor materials of construction:
This article describes the different materials from which plumbing traps (also called plumbing interceptors) are made, such as plastic, brass, cast iron, and we discuss the different properties of each of these plumbing trap materials.
This plumbing traps (interceptors) article series describes plumbing traps (interceptors) and how to diagnose, find, and cure odors in buildings including septic or sewage or sewer gas smells or "gas odors" in buildings with a focus on homes with a private onsite septic tank but including tips for owners whose home is connected to a sewer system as well.
Brass plumbing traps / interceptors - traditional, widespread use 1900-present, including thicker-walled cast brass (above and in real trouble) or thin-walled brass, possibly chrome plated that we'll show below.
You might note that most of the plumbing interceptors we show here are suffering in some way, askew, broken, loose, corroded, leaky.
At InspectApedia many or our building component photographs were originally taken to document real-world, in-service conditions that are found by trades people, plumbers, for example, or by building inspectors, contractors, home inspectors, or chartered surveyors. These images show conditions rather than showcasing products even when the products are ones we love.
Cast iron plumbing traps (shown above) are more-likely to be found as the house trap or main building drain trap at point at which the sewer piping exits from a building.
You'll recognize cast iron drain/waste/vent piping (DWV) by the thick heavy pipe edges at the pipe hubs and cleanouts [click to enlarge the image] and you can confirm the use of cast iron with a magnet - which will adhere to the pipe surface.
Chrome-plated brass plumbing traps / interceptors - traditional, widespread use world-wide, 1960's - present. Shown above, a leaky chrome-plated brass thin-walled plumbing trap below the author's sink in Mexico. This trap appeared to be leaking but the water was actually from a corroded leaky sink strainer assembly above the trap itself.
[Image needed: galvanized iron plumbing trap] Use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send us photos for comment or contribution.
Galvanized iron plumbing traps, traditional, 1920 - 1970
Plastic or PVC plumbing traps - widespread, world-wide, 1977 - present. Some plastic plumbing traps are also silver coloured and may be chrome plated. Shown above, first photo: a PVC building sewer line trap providing drain cleanout openings at the foundation wall of a U.S. home. Second photo, a typical white plastic PVC plumbing interceptor or drain trap below a kitchen sink. I'm feeling for wet spots or leaks after having installed new parts.
Below is a photo of a do-it-yourself home-made plumbing interceptor made out of PVC plumbing parts. This trap may not work properly as its dimensions are "non-standard" and also because it's not a P-trap - there is no connection to a plumbing vent.
Below is another home-made or "expedient" plumbing trap that is not a trap.
Rubber plumbing traps (shown above made of an automotive radiator hose) found on some home-made systems didn't work, but rubber traps might be used successfully in other forms. This one, providing no trap, allows sewer gases right up into the building. And it leaks too.
Stainless steel plumbing traps, and nickel plated plumbing traps offer extra corrosion resistance. Some of these are nickel-plated such as the bottle trap ( a small drum trap) I'm holding in the photo above.
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"Guidance Document for Sizing and Installation of Grease Traps and Interceptors", Carrolton Texas, January 2012, retrieved 2/16/2014, original source: http://cityofcarrollton.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8181
Kia Gregory, "New York Tries to Clear Its Sewers of FOG (Fat, Oil, and Grease)", The New York Times, p. A18, 15 February 2014
Thanks to Slade Franklin
for the reminder that a leaky wax ring at a toilet can lead to septic odors in bathrooms. 11/2007
Thanks to J.V. (privacy protected) for the reminder to make a detailed inspection of the plumbing vent system when sewer gas odors are present. 07/2008
Thanks to Roger Hankey & Cheryll Brown, www.hankeyandbrown.com, ASHI home inspectors in Minnesota, for the deteriorated transite pipe gas flue vent photograph and comments. Mr. Hankey is a past chairman of the ASHI Technical Committee, serves as co-chairman of ASHI legislative committee, and has served in other ASHI professional and leadership roles. 7/2007.
Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, for permission to use illustrations from their publication, The Illustrated Home which illustrates construction details and building components. Carson Dunlop provides home inspection education, publications, report writing materials, and home inspection services. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.
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