Different Types of Drains & Pipes
With so many different types of drains and pipes, it can be hard to know what it is you’re working with, this is why ClearFirst have put together a comprehensive source explaining what all the different types of pipes and drains are in a house or property.
Briefly covering what they are, what they do, where they are and what they look like.
The Bath trap drainage device usually refers to the P-trap. A bath trap must be the correct size and shape to ensure a bath can drain properly. It must be an effective seal to prevent a backup of waste and keep sewer gases at bay. The appropriate size of a P-trap 1.5 inches in diameter, whatever the size of bath.
A Bottle trap plumbing piece is positioned directly underneath a sink and looks like a bottle and called this because it holds water. The bottle trap helps to keep your bathroom clean and free-from nasty odours. The basin pipe that the water runs down is much smaller compared to the bottle trap, which is larger in diameter.
This is required because the vessel always holds a certain amount of water, when sullage runs through it, it is then filled back up with new water. The water that sits at the bottom of the bottle trap seals off any unwanted gases or return waste from entering the building. They are usually made from plastic but chrome-plated designs are available for a more aesthetically pleasing finish.
A Communication Pipe is used to transport water from the water mains to private properties. They’re laid under highways and are maintained by local water companies - this includes repairs, replacements and detection of leaks. A stop-tap marks the end of the communication pipework and if you’re a property owner and have one on the premises, it’s likely to be your responsibility.
Galvanized Steel is used for main water supplies, this material prevents corrosion and rust. Galvanized steel is no longer used within the home and are better used in areas that are not easily accessed.
A Gully Trap is a fixture found inside a domestic drain. The gully trap stops foul smells and gases from the waste that has passed through from dispersing into the surrounding air. They are self-cleaning pipes that generate enough force from the water flow to flush away waste buildup and they have a deep water seal with a minimum depth of 50mm.
They also stop insects and pests from finding their way into your building. These pipes are found on the outside of buildings and will collect all sullage from your sinks, baths and showers.
A Lateral Drain refers to the length of a pipe that transports wastewater away from a building. They’re found on the externals of a property and are hidden underground, running beneath public roads and pavements. They connect to the sewer, which is where the waste is released and then treated by your local water company.
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An Overflow Pipe is a pipe that prevents a water overflow, they are found on cisterns or toilet tanks. If the toilet does being to fill up too high, the excess water will be transported through this pipe to prevent it from filling up any further. This part is put in place to prevent flooding.
The P-Trap is a device that’s usually found under sinks and serves a multitude of purposes. The P-trap prevents clogs by capturing debris to stop blockages from forming and works to stop gases from the sewer entering properties. P-traps tend to be made from PVC or steel, commonly PVC P-traps are installed but if they’re not cased inside a cupboard, steel ones are used because they’re more aesthetically pleasing. P-traps are literally shaped like the letter ‘P’, this part acts as a water seal, allowing water to pass through but never back up towards the vessel it left.
A Shower trap is a fitting that prevents clogs inside the drainage of your bath and/or shower. The shower trap is a straight pipe with a U bend that is positioned downwards to trap water between the inlet and the outlet - it is made up of three sections. The first part is the inlet, this is a vertical pipe that transports sullage from the bath or shower away and into the trap. The ‘trap’, is the second part, here the stagnant water is replaced by new water that flows through the inlet. The outlet is a horizontal pipe that shifts wastewater towards a main drain and from there it will enter the sewers.
Water closet trap
A Water closet trap can be referred to as an ‘S-trap’, this part is hard to see but this is a small water chamber within the toilet base that forms the shape of the letter ‘S’. The S-trap is no longer used and has been banned because it has been known to allow sewer gases to enter buildings. The toilet has been able to overcome this issue by rerouting a small flow of water into the toilet bowl through a ‘fill tube’ whilst the tank refills.
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