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    Old lead Drum Trap - can I cut it out?

    Asked Oct 13, 2006, 04:51 AM 10 Answers
    I live in a pretty old house, and we have just begun having problems with our bathtub draining. I've tried 4 or 5 different kinds of drain cleaners - including acid based ones, to no avail. Roto Rooter was out to fix my toilet a couple of days ago, and recommended that I remove the drum trap and just replace it with PVC Pipe - in order to have a straight shot from the tub, to the drainage pipe. I have a very crude drawing of what we're looking at here - but it should get the point across.

    I was told that it is worthless to attempt to run a snake through this type of trap, because the water enters through the bottom and exits through the top - the snake would never get through the trap. I'm wanting to cut the trap out at the entrance pipe - and then pvc it together at the water pipe on the other side of the trap.

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    JAY1212's Avatar
    JAY1212 Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #2

    Oct 13, 2006, 05:25 AM
    If they were out to fix something the other day in one of the drains, all the drains do run together. It is possible that you may have something that got caught in the drain s- trap, think back, do you ever poor cooking grease down the drain, that accumulates, you could try un-screwing the small little drain and see id it is clogged, but if it keeps on happing and your not putting grease from fried fooddown it, there has to be something still clogged up in the systom. If that's not helping roter, really did not give you a correct answer, and they should come back and not charge you. Ask they may have unclogged it for a bit but it may be stuck somewhere else. All the plumbing runs together, and they use that wire, called a snake to clean it out but it seems like they did not clear it. Try what i said and if that does not work i would call them back. Also, read the lable on thoses cleaners, as some say not to put then down certain things, like bath tubs, sinks, as so of you pipeing is plastic, Let me know how u make out. Jay,to dittohead
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    Dittohead's Avatar
    Dittohead Posts: 3, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Oct 13, 2006, 05:31 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by JAY1212
    IF THEY WERE OUT TO FIX SOMETHING THE OTHER DAY IN ONE OF THE DRAINS, ALL THE DRAINS DO RUN TOGETHER. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT YOU MAY HAVE SOMETHING THAT GOT CAUGHT IN THE DRAIN S- TRAP, THINK BACK, DO YOU EVER POOR COOKING GREASE DOWN THE DRAIN, THAT ACCUMULATES, YOU COULD TRY UN-SCREWING THE SMALL LITTLE DRAIN AND SEE ID IT IS CLOGGED, BUT IF IT KEEPS ON HAPPING AND YOUR NOT PUTTING GREASE FROM FRIED FOODDOWN IT, THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING STILL CLOGGED UP IN THE SYSTOM. iF THATS NOT HELPING ROTER, REALLY DID NOT GIVE YOU A CORRECT ANSWER, AND THEY SHOULD COME BACK AND NOT CHARGE YOU. ASK THEY MAY HAVE UNCLOGGED IT FOR A BIT BUT IT MAY BE STUCK SOMEWHERE ELSE. ALL THE PLUMBING RUNS TOGETHER, AND THEY USE THAT WIRE, CALLED A SNAKE TO CLEAN IT OUT BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THEY DID NOT CLEAR IT. TRY WHAT I SAID AND IF THAT DOES NOT WORK I WOULD CALL THEM BACK. ALSO, READ THE LABLE ON THOSES CLEANERS, AS SOME SAY NOT TO PUT THEN DOWN CERTAIN THINGS, LIKE BATH TUBS, SINKS, AS SO OF YOU PIPEING IS PLASTIC, . LET ME KNOW HOW U MAKE OUT. JAY,TO DITTOHEAD

    We rarely even use cooking grease, and don't pour it down the kitchen sink when we do. The reason they were out, was because a plastic piece got stuck in our toilet - it is still in there because they couldn't get it out - but, isn't affecting flushing anymore. The tub seems unrelated. We went downstairs and looked at the piping, and they said it doesn't look like the toilet and tub pipes connect until after the trap - and their snake went down the toilet drainage pipe without a problem when the toilet was taken off.

    The tub is the only thing we're having a problem with.
    Helpful (1)
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #4

    Oct 13, 2006, 05:43 AM
    What you need to do next is study your layout and figure out how you can connect to a vent. You need to replace the drum trap with a vented ''P'' trap. The drain must go down, backup the ''p'' trap and over to a T with the water going down, and air able to come down the vent. The vent must be before the line goes down again after the ''p'' trap. If you can't access a vent, you can add a Studor vent. Post all the details so when Tom comes by, he will have what he needs to give the correct answer.
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 28,588, Reputation: 1909
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    #5

    Oct 13, 2006, 06:53 AM


    "I'm wanting to cut the trap out at the entrance pipe - and then pvc it together at the water pipe on the other side of the trap."

    But you can't do that! That would leave a direct connection between your house and the city sewer allowing sewer gas to enter your home.
    I agree that the drum trap should be cut out and replaced with a "P" trap installed at the tub drain. I'm going to make it easy on you. Way back when I first started in plumbing tubs were allowed to vent through the tub waste and overflow, (the plate that the trip lever's on). This will allow the tub to pull air through the trap causing a "gurgle" to be heard. While this would not be allowed today I offer it as a option and not as a suggestion. On a side note, the house in Wisconsin that I grew up in had a tub with a drum trap with no vent and in all those years we never had a problem. Of course a vent or at least a cheater vent just after the trap would be preferable.
    Good luck, Tom
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    Dittohead's Avatar
    Dittohead Posts: 3, Reputation: 2
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    #6

    Oct 13, 2006, 07:50 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by speedball1
    "I'm wanting to cut the trap out at the entrance pipe - and then pvc it together at the water pipe on the other side of the trap."

    But you can't do that! That would leave a direct connection between your house and the city sewer allowing sewer gas to enter your home.
    I agree that the drum trap should be cut out and replaced with a "P" trap installed at the tub drain. I'm gonna make it easy on you. Way back when I first started in plumbing tubs were allowed to vent through the tub waste and overflow, (the plate that the trip lever's on). This will allow the tub to pull air through the trap causing a "gurgle" to be heard. While this would not be allowed today I offer it as a option and not as a suggestion. On a side note, the house in Wisconsin that I grew up in had a tub with a drum trap with no vent and in all those years we never had a problem. Of course a vent or at least a cheater vent just after the trap would be preferable.
    Good luck, Tom

    I want to make sure I'm understanding correctly here. You're offering me 2 options:

    Option 1: Use the overflow as a vent, and pvc through where my drum trap is at.

    Option 2: PVC with no vent at all.

    I have zero plumbing knowledge, but have a relative who has no problem doing minor work. I would just like to be 100% sure I know what needs to be done.

    Thank You!
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 28,588, Reputation: 1909
    Senior Plumbing Expert
     
    #7

    Oct 13, 2006, 11:54 AM


    Option one and two are the same. If you install a "P" trap and remove the old drum trap you have two options open to you,
    (1) You can run a vent off the "P" trap to the roof or revent back in the attic to a existing vent.**or** (2) You can install the "P" trap and vent through the tub waste. Either way will work, it's just that #2 won't conform to code. Cheers, Tom
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    joeythunder's Avatar
    joeythunder Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Jun 29, 2011, 12:23 PM
    Drum traps need to be replaced with pvc no two ways about it. Go to this old house . Com they have a great video on how to remove and replace it. Trust me, drum traps are a nuicance ( I have 4 working down to 0) and when they start to say good bye to all the pretty paint you had or hello to a smell you do NOT want to breathe for any amount of time. If you cannot afford or cannot do it yourself, all drum traps have a cleaning vent on top of them, you must access it, unscrew the top and clean it out, but honestly, its less work to just replace the darn thing!
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    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 11,871, Reputation: 1114
    Plumbing Expert
     
    #9

    Jun 29, 2011, 12:42 PM



    HI JT'

    This post is from 2006, so I'm betting the problem is solved by now! Always check the dates (upper left corner of post) if you want a response, OK?

    For future readers of this post, if you remove a drum trap (lead, cast bronze, other stuff) it is almost always necessary to replace with a new drum trap (pvc or ABS) as most drum traps are NOT vented with the same requirements that PTRAPS require.

    Just a heads up, OK?

    Mark
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    joeythunder's Avatar
    joeythunder Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Jun 29, 2011, 12:49 PM
    Ty MP. I didn't notice that. My fault for googling
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