Our laundry room was starting to smell like a sewer, not quite stinky, but sort of a sour, musty smell. For the longest time we just figured it was the washing machine getting old. While cleaning out the laundry room today, I noticed a drain on the floor and was reminded of the time when I had to fix my mom’s sink, when I had to research how sinks and plumbing work. One thing I learned back then that stuck with me is the concept of a trap.
In the United States, the main types of traps are “P” and “S” traps, named so because they resemble those letters of the alphabet (when turned sideways). Every sink has one of these traps underneath. Even toilets have them. The idea is that after water drains from a sink, some of that water stays in the curved part of the pipe (i.e. “trapping” the water), thus creating a barrier between the sewer below and the bathroom or kitchen above and preventing any offensive smells from entering the room.
I knew that the drain hadn’t been used in years, and that the water in the trap had probably evaporated. So, I poured some water and all-purpose cleaner down the drain, and the smell went away.
I am no plumber, but I do have some basic knowledge of how things work. I think it is awesome that information is so easily accessible these days, that anyone can hop on the internet and look up information to help them solve a problem. The next time you have a problem, try searching on the internet; you just might find the answer. Knowledge is power!