Is it Time to Update Your Sewer Line’s House Trap?

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Is it Time to Update Your Sewer Line’s House Trap?

Chances are you found this article either out of genuine curiosity or because you own an older home and are experiencing plumbing problems. It’s true, older homes, built before 1989, were equipped with a house trap which helps to literally trap sewer gases and prevent them from entering your home through your plumbing fixtures.

While an advancement at the time, these often forgotten relics of an older age in plumbing are the frequent source of frustration for homeowners across the country. With a myriad of problems that can arise, house traps have fallen out of favor and should be replaced as soon as issues arise.

The potential risks associated with an outdated sewer trap go well beyond a simple clogged drain repair. That is why your best bet is to rely on a licensed plumber to ensure that your home’s plumbing system is working properly with the most up-to-date fixtures. Homeowners in Waxahachie know that Dial1 Johnson is the trusted source for all plumbing emergencies. 

What is a House Trap

At this point, you might be wondering why a system would be put in place that could potentially be a problem area for homeowners. In truth, sewer traps were a necessity before advancements in backflow drains became popular. House traps, or p-traps as they are more commonly called, are u-shaped bends in your home’s plumbing system.

These are common under sinks and as the name suggests, they trap harmful sewer gasses and prevent them from entering your home. Modern p-traps are made with PVC and are easily accessible for most bathroom sink repairs. These parts will rarely wear down and even then can be replaced by any DIYer willing to get a little dirty.

House traps are notoriously more difficult to deal with. They create a choke point for waste and sewage and can easily become clogged. Typically located under the house and potentially underground, repairs can be challenging and costly. These facts, combined with materials that are susceptible to corrosion and you have a recipe for disaster.

Uncovering House Trap Issues

The location alone is one of the biggest problems for diagnosing issues related to your home’s house trap. Most of the time, it is not until the problem has compounded that homeowners realize there is a larger problem at hand. Early detection is not impossible but should be promptly addressed to avoid major plumbing issues. 

Odors Entering Your Home

Whenever a p-trap fails, your nose will likely be the first to sniff out the problem. Those gases that were kept at bay are now able to infiltrate your home and will emanate from the various fixtures that feed wastewater to the trap. Toilets may be the last to show this sign since their piping can help block these fumes. Foul odors from shower drains are more common in the earlier stages and can be easier to detect.

Multiple Fixtures Experiencing Issues

House traps, unlike those attached to your kitchen sink, are tied to multiple fixtures. When it starts acting up, you might notice that multiple toilets, as well as your shower drain, are affected. The chain reaction can quickly compound and cause backups and progress to flooding. 

Frequent Back-Ups

Because a p-trap creates a choke point in your plumbing system, it is more likely to result in a clogged drain repair. This could include slower draining bathtubs or toilet backups. Plunging is usually the first step in trying to alleviate the issue, but will not always work if the house trap is clogged. When this happens, your next call should be to a licensed plumber.

Standing Water

As the problem progresses, flooding can occur. Not only can this do severe damage to your home, but it also can carry raw sewage that can be harmful to your family. This clue can be difficult to catch at the onset, especially if the flooding occurs under the home or in a basement. 

Backflow Flooding

Some older homes will be equipped with backflow drains, commonly found in basements, that are connected to help prevent the line from backing up into the home. As the house trap becomes clogged, sewage and wastewater can exit the line through the backflow pipe.


If you are scratching your head, wondering what your next move should be, you are not the first and will not be the last homeowner to do so. Updating your plumbing system to include clean-out lines is likely your best option. These access points are placed outside of your home and provide easy access to your mainline as well as back into your home should clogs occur in the future.

Keep in mind that updating your system is not as simple as a clogged drain repair, and will require investment. Work with your local plumbing expert to determine if the time is right for your system to be brought into the 21st century.

Clogged Drain Repair Near Me

Let’s face it, no one wants their home plumbing system to start acting up. We expect things to operate smoothly regardless of the situation and when a monkey wrench gets thrown into the plan, it can be frustrating at best. Plumbing repairs, for better or worse, are simply part of homeownership and like every other home system, will need attention from time to time. The best policy is to be attentive and proactive. Not only will this keep your plumbing in tip-top shape, but it will save money in the long run.

Homeowners looking for clogged drain repair might find that the problem goes beyond a simple clog. When this happens, know that the Dial1 Johnson team has your back. With over 50 years of service in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, our skilled technicians can help update your home’s plumbing system and get you right as rain. Our offices are located in Midlothian, Cedar Hill, and South Dallas, so you can bet that we are never more than a short phone call away. Learn more about our services or schedule an appointment today.


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