Many older bathrooms have a removable metal cap on the floor which covers a drum trap. It’s usually located near the tub. Just like any trap in your home, it can get clogged and needs to be cleared. Here’s how.
What is a Drum Trap?
Drum traps allow wastewater to flow out of our fixture into your sewer line while preventing sewer gas from getting into your home. Their primary purpose was to keep large, heavy debris from getting stuck in your plumbing. They were common for many years and can still be found in older homes.
However, drum traps are no longer accepted by plumbing codes. Also, they’re not self-cleaning. They hold so much water that water and waste are difficult to flow through. This creates more than usual clogging with waste and debris remaining on the bottom of the trap.
Once a blockage has been cleared, we strongly recommend you replace your existing drum trap with a P-trap.
How to Clear a Drum Trap
You’re not going to believe how easy this 2-step drum trap plumbing process is. All you need is about 1 hour, some basic plumbing skills, and these tools:
- Hammer and cold chisel (or screwdriver)
1. Open Drum Trap
- Begin by bailing out the tub of any water and remove any remaining water with rags or large spongs.
- Remove the drum trap cap with an adjustable wrench. Once removed, you have access to the drum trap blockage.
- You might have difficulty removing the cap. If a wrench doesn’t do the trick, use a hammer and cold chisel (or screwdriver). Damage the cap if necessary; they’re cheap and easy to replace. But do NOT mar the threads on the trap.
2. Unclog Drum Trap
- Open the trap slowly, watching for water to well up around the threads.
- Take your manual or power auger and place it into the drum trap.
- If the trap is full, work the auger away from the tub toward the main drain.
- If the trap is only partially full, the obstruction is between the tub and the trap
- Auger back and forth.
If you have experience opening difficult drain caps and augering your drains, then this project will be a piece of cake. What isn’t a piece of cake is replacing your drum trap with an up-to-code P-trap. You might want to call your local plumber to handle that project.
- What is a P-trap?
- What is a Trap Primer?
- How to Naturally Unclog a Drain
- Why do I Smell Sewage?
- Retrieving Items Lost Down the Drain
- How to Unclog Hair from Drain (2 Tips)
- How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink
1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.