A Professional Plumber Explains How A Water Trap Loses Its Seal

A Professional Plumber Explains How A Water Trap Loses Its Seal

Are you dealing with a smelly sink, bathtub, or shower? If so, the cause may be an issue with your water trap seal. This is a common problem that many homeowners encounter, and it can usually be fixed quickly and easily. To help you understand what’s going on in your plumbing system, here’s a professional plumber guide explaining how your water trap loses its seal and what you can do about it.

Table of Contents

What Is the Water Trap Seal?

A water trap is designed with an S-shaped bend in a pipe’s drainage path. This bend creates two separate sections in the pipe; one side holds water at all times, creating what is known as a “water seal”. This seal prevents sewer gas from coming back up through the drainpipe and into your home. Over time, however, this seal can begin to break down due to several factors, including:

Direct Siphonage

Also called self-siphonage, it results from unvented traps serving fixtures with oval bottoms, such as lavatories. Such fixtures discharge contents rapidly and lack the final small trick of water needed to seal the trap. Water flows out fast and fills the waste pipe when the plug is withdrawn. The water, in turn, displaces the air that usually fills the waste pipe, reducing atmospheric pressure on the side of the discharge of the trap. The atmospheric pressure on the fixture side forces the water through the trap, leading to the loss of the seal.

When using a particular flat-bottom bathtub, sink, or shower, the last few shreds of water that flows into the trap come in a slow trickle. They may reseal the trap, but to ensure your trap doesn’t lose its seal through self-siphonage, ensure you have a plumber install an anti-siphon valve. You could also ask them to install an air admittance valve, allowing air back into the waste pipe without running a vent.

Inadequate Venting

When it comes to plumbing, the importance of proper venting cannot be overstated. Inadequate venting can lead to many problems, including losing a water trap seal. Venting in your plumbing system allows the atmosphere to enter the trap’s discharge side and prevent water loss through siphonage. Atmospheric pressure at sea level is around 14.7 psi and slightly varies on the fixture side of your water seal trap. When there is a difference between this pressure and pressure on the discharge side, it forces the water seal to the direction with less pressure. To fix this issue, have a plumbing professional inspect your drainage system to ensure that all the vents are in working order and properly connected. If any repairs or replacement of parts are necessary, the plumbing expert can ensure that your water trap seal is secure and functioning properly.

Indirect Siphonage

Indirect siphonage, also known as momentum siphonage, is caused due to a large amount of water discharge from a fixture at least one or two more flows above your affected fixture. The significant release may form a slug in the stack, and as this slug passes the inlet of the drainage branch to the fixture below it, it pulls out the air from the drain on the lower fixture. It, in turn, reduces pressure on the trap’s discharge side, resulting in a siphon that can break the trap seal until there is a discharge from the lower fixture again.

High Temperature and Humidity

When temperatures soar, and humidity levels rise, the air surrounding our pipes becomes much more saturated with water vapor. This excess moisture can seep into the water trap, causing the seal to weaken or even evaporate completely. As a result, foul odors and potentially harmful gases can escape into your home.

To prevent this, you should ensure your plumbing system is properly insulated to help keep humidity levels low. Having an experienced plumber check the water trap every few months can help ensure the seal remains intact and functioning properly.

Back Pressure

Back pressure within the drainage system is caused by concurrent use of fixtures which overtaxes your plumbing system and causes a positive pressure affecting the water seal in the trap. A large flow can fill the pipe, which causes the compressed atmospheric gases to resist because they can’t slip past the water flow and exhaust at the roof of the vent. As the water falls, pressure increases and compresses the air blowing the trap seal out of the fixture connected lower on the stack.

Outdoor Air Pressures

When the wind flow fluctuates over the top of your plumbing vent, it can change the pressure within your plumbing system. This pressure may result in suction or a blowout of the seal. Though air pressure changes are not a significant cause of trap seal loss, they may be why your home water trap loses its seal. Have a plumber perform checks in your plumbing system to determine if outdoor air pressure is affecting your trap seals and provide alternative solutions to help prevent further loss of seal on your traps.

Capillary Action

Capillary action happens when a foreign object like a rag, lint, hair, or string lodges into the trap. The foreign object then acts as a wick, absorbing and carrying water from the trap over to the outlet side of the trap into the waste pipe. It can lead to water loss in the trap, making the seal ineffective. Keep your drain free from a foreign object to ensure you do not lose your trap seal through capillary action.

Have an Issue with Your Trap Seals? Call Us for an Effective Solution

If you are looking for an experienced professional in plumbing for water trap installation, maintenance, seal problem diagnosis, or any other problems with water traps, don’t hesitate to contact us at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston. We have the expertise and experience to help eliminate any problem affecting your drain traps, providing outstanding services. Get in touch with us today to schedule a service.

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What Are Common Thermal Expansion Tank Issues A Plumber Can Address?

What Are Common Thermal Expansion Tank Issues A Plumber Can Address?

If you use a tankless water heater, you need not necessarily install an expansion tank. However, you may install thermal expansion tanks for your point-of-use tankless water heaters. The expansion tank is meant to handle the thermal expansion of the water. When the pressure rises to an uncontrollable limit, it may damage the joints in your plumbing supply pipes, the water heater, or even the valves in your plumbing fixtures. Have you noticed that the pressure and temperature relief valve is leaking? That is a surefire sign that the expansion tank has failed. However, you can catch most problems before they worsen by regularly inspecting and maintaining the unit with a plumber. In this article, you will learn the signs that the water heater thermal expansion tank is faulty and that it’s time for repair or replacement.

Common Thermal Expansion Tank Problems

One good thing about an expansion tank is that it can help you regulate water and air pressure in your water system. The expansion tanks are easy to maintain. But they aren’t immune to various complications. When they develop these problems, they start showing signs that aren’t hard for you to notice. Below are some of these signs. Call a plumber to address the problem when you notice either.

Venting Water

How old is your water heater expansion tank? Can you recall the last time you had it inspected or serviced by a professional? If the expansion tank stays long, it might wear out around the critical areas. This means the tank will start to leak water. Therefore, you must closely monitor the expansion tank to see where the leaks might come from. If the leakage from the pipe is around the top of your expansion tank, then the fitting itself has become loose. The water heater repair technician will come and tighten it using a wrench and check to see that the leak is patched. However, they know not to over tighten it. However, the best option is to have routine maintenance and inspections of the thermal expansion when the plumbing professional comes to service the heater. They will deal with the issues before they worsen.

Air Blockage

The thermal expansion tank is designed as a point where the air will stay in your hot water system. Air is necessary for any water system. However, this air may become trapped within the expansion tank, resulting in what water heater repair technicians call a hydronic airlock. This airlock may result in water not flowing via the heater or pipes. Whenever you notice no water inside the radiators, there’s a high probability that your unit will have an airlock.

The thermal expansion tanks function to prevent this airlock from happening. However, should you notice that an air block indicates that the expansion tank is not functioning normally? A water heater repair technician can help you determine if your tank can be repaired or if you must replace it. However, you can avert such issues by ensuring the tank is serviced by a reliable professional.

Steel Tank Requires Recharging

There are different types of water heater thermal expansion tanks. Older units are made from steel. The steel tanks normally mix water and air to maintain pressure. With time, the water within may absorb some small quantities of air; the expansion tank loses pressure whenever this happens. Whenever this happens, there is only one solution. You should have a plumber recharge the system.

While you might have read or heard that you can recharge the expansion tank yourself, a professional should handle all water heater repair issues. This is because DIY plumbing jobs could end up causing more damage. Additionally, you might get hurt in the process, not forgetting that you will void any warranty you might have had. Additionally, you cannot see the tank inside when you choose to recharge the tank yourself. Thus, it is always wise that you involve a professional.

A Lack of Sufficient Air Inside the Diaphragm Tank

Most new expansion tanks use a rubber diaphragm system. This diaphragm is used for separating water and air. Since the water in such tanks will absorb the air, the diaphragm thermal expansion tanks won’t lose any pressure. However, these tanks lose some small quantities of air pressure through the valve, a common challenge.

Whenever this happens, you must call a water heater repair technician to add more air into the tank. Adding air into the thermal expansion tank is an easy task that you might think to complete yourself. You don’t know which valve to pump the air into the pump or even have the required tools to complete the job.

Even if you were to recharge the unit yourself, there is a high probability that the tank might not hold the air pressure even after you pump enough air in. This might mean the diaphragm is damaged. This demonstrates that enlisting a water heater repair professional is the best option for any issue with your unit or its accessories. Many minor issues could be tied to the major problem, and the professionals have the tools and experience to diagnose them all.


The other sign of thermal expansion tank failure is when you notice a lot of condensation around the tank. If you spot any accumulation of condensation, you should immediately call a professional. The condensation in the thermal expansion might result in rusting. It also may make the water start dripping onto the electrical wires. Failure to address these signs of expansion tank damage immediately might see the water droplets to cause damage under the tank or even result in mold growth. Because determining the cause of condensation is hard, it is recommended that you seek the help of a plumber.

Have you noticed any of the signs above with your water heater thermal expansion tank? Call us at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston.

See our most recent blog on this topic here.

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Criteria For Selecting A Plumber

Criteria For Selecting A Plumber

It’s a necessity for every homeowner to have a plumber on speed dial. However, it can be challenging to find a skilled and reliable contractor. There are criteria homeowners should take into account when selecting one, to ensure the job is done properly. A plumbing service provider can handle various projects such as installing or repairing water pipes and fittings, replacing worn-out pipes or joining two separate lines. Plumbing work is undertaken in a home or business, and varies depending on the project and experience level.

Considerations When Hiring a Plumbing Service Provider

There are several considerations that you need to think about before hiring a plumber. These include:

Check Whether They’re Licensed

The government requires all plumbing service providers to be licensed. You can browse your state’s license board to verify that your plumber is licensed. Search for their name, city and license number. A license is essential as it indicates that a company is competent to do its job.

Confirm Whether They Have Insurance

The first thing to ask when hiring a plumbing service provider is whether they have insurance. This is important because having insurance protects you from paying for any damages they might cause to your property, whether due to negligence or by accident. To avoid legal trouble, it’s best to hire someone who has this protection in case something goes wrong.

Choose an Established Plumbing Company

If you need repairs at your office or home, you’ll want to hire a plumbing company established in the area. An established company will have a solid reputation within the community, evidenced by satisfied customers. Plumbing may get problematic, and you need a competent company to ensure you don’t experience problems. Many customers recommend bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston, which has been in business for a while, providing quality plumbing services.

Review Their References

You should call at least three of the clients the plumbing service provider has worked for and ask for their opinions. Positive comments from satisfied customers is a good indicator that you can trust the company. However, if you notice lots of complaints then it’s better to steer away and find another plumbing service provider.


You should also check whether the company has the necessary tools for the job. Without appropriate tools, the service provider may not be able to give you the best services. Ensure that you hire a plumbing professional who is familiar with the type of plumbing required and knows how to use the plumbing tools efficiently. At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston, employees are provided with the required tools and equipment, and they are highly trained to use them.

Services Offered by Plumbing Companies

The services a plumbing company provides depend on equipment, skills and experience of the available team. Most plumbing businesses offer repair, drain cleaning, and other services.

Drain Cleaning

Drain cleaning removes excess water, sediment, or waste from a drain. You may need this done if your drain is overflowing or there are patches of stagnant water around it. Cleaning the drain early enough will help prevent it from blocking.

Plumbing Repairs

If your piping is damaged, water may leak. A leak may occur due to a hole in the piping or loose fittings. Over time, piping may crack or become worn out, requiring repair. Plumbing companies offer replacement services for damaged piping. They replace the necessary parts with new and more efficient ones. They can also help with misaligned pipes and ensure your plumbing works properly.

Garbage Disposal Services

A garbage disposal is a mechanical device that grinds waste into small pieces, which can be disposed of through your drain system. This system may sometimes get clogged. A garbage disposal repair service will help clear the waste from your drain. Plumbing service professionals can also set up a new system if the old one is not functioning properly.

Tub & Shower Repair and Maintenance

Keeping up with the cleaning and maintenance of your tub and shower is important to prevent possible damage to the area. It’s best to contact a professional plumbing company for tub and shower repair if you notice any issues with your unit. A professional plumbing service provider can help you decide if cleaning or replacing is necessary and offer services for any of these tasks.

Toilet Repair

Toilets can clog due to solid waste residue and build-up. A toilet repair service will help to clear debris from the toilet bowl. This must be done if your toilet fails to flush waste down the drain. With the right tools and equipment, professional plumbing companies can solve any issues with your toilet.

Sewer Repair

If your sewer line is clogged or there’s a leak in the system, it may be time to call a plumbing company. Plumbing contractors ensure that your sewer system works properly and that any clogs are cleared. A clogged line can cause sewage backup, creating a health hazard.

Water Heater Repair

If you have a water heater that’s not heating properly, you need a plumber to fix it. Small leaks in the water heater will lead to many problems, such as insufficient hot water and low pressure. It might be dangerous to use your water heater if it fails to work correctly.

Installing Water Filtration Systems

Plumbing professionals offer water filter installation services. This is done with multiple systems, depending on the client’s preferences. You may want an entire house system installed, or you may need a filtration system to be placed in the kitchen. Plumbing companies understand that you may sometimes lack access to clean water, and they can help install water filtration systems.

For quality and efficient plumbing services, visit our company, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston. We provide quality services that are beneficial to your home or business. When you contact us, we respond promptly. For more information about our services, check out our company website.

See our most recent blog on this topic here.

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Water Bills Getting Out Of Hand? Call A Plumber To Install These Fixtures To Save Water

Water Bills Getting Out Of Hand? Call A Plumber To Install These Fixtures To Save Water

Are you feeling pinched between the rising costs of living and water bills? It’s a problem that many homeowners face, especially during summer months when water usage increases. The increasing cost of utilities can make it difficult to keep up with regular expenses, so what do you do? Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your home’s water bill through efficient fixtures installation by a qualified plumber. Learn how installing certain standard fixtures will conserve water and save you money in the short and long term.

Water-Saving Faucets

Also known as low-flow faucets, water-saving faucets reduce the amount of water flowing out of the faucet without minimizing the water pressure. This will help you save both water and money. Water-saving faucets are fitted with aerators, which mix air with water, creating a balanced, aerated stream. This reduces the amount of water from the faucet while maintaining a steady pressure.

Besides reducing water usage, installing water-saving faucets is a great way to add to your home’s value. Potential buyers would be very interested in a home with water-saving plumbing fixtures. When looking for a water-saving faucet, contact a plumbing professional to help you choose a water-efficient and reliable faucet.

An Efficient Toilet

Toilets are one of the most significant sources of water use in a home. The average toilet uses around 5 gallons of water per flush. To save money and conserve water, consider installing low-flow toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. Not only do these toilets use significantly less water than traditional models, but they are also more efficient at removing waste without sacrificing performance.

Some toilets have a dual flush option, which allows you to use less water for liquid waste and more water for solid waste. A dual-flush toilet will minimize your water usage and save money on the water bill. When looking for a new toilet, look for a model that meets all the water efficiency and performance standards. If you need assistance choosing a water-efficient toilet, hire a certified plumbing professional to guide you.

Pressure-Reducing Valves

Pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) are simple devices plumbers install in your plumbing system to reduce the water pressure coming into your home. They adjust the water pressure automatically to the set level, helping prevent excess pressure and reducing the risk of damage to the fixtures and plumbing system.

By reducing the water pressure, pressure-reducing valves minimize water wastage when water flows out of the faucets with too much pressure. Because high water pressure causes excess wear and tear on your home’s plumbing, pressure-reducing valves can reduce the wear and increase the lifespan of your plumbing. Also, you won’t spend much money calling a plumbing expert for repairs and replacements.

In addition, pressure-reducing valves improve fixture performance. Some plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and showerheads, work best at a certain water pressure level. If the pressure is too high, the fixtures will not be as efficient as they should be. By minimizing the pressure, a pressure-reducing valve will improve the performance of your fixtures, making them more efficient and saving you money on your water bill.

If you are interested in installing a pressure-balancing valve, it is best to consult a professional from a licensed plumbing company. This will ensure that the device is installed well and meets all the local plumbing codes.

Upgrade to a Quality Low-Flow Showerhead

A low-quality or outdated showerhead wastes much water. Luckily, you can install a low-flow showerhead that doesn’t use a lot of water. Low-flow showerheads are designed to restrict water flow while offering enough water for a comfortable shower experience. By using less water, a low-flow showerhead enables you to conserve water.

When you compare low-flow showerheads with traditional showerheads, low-flow models can reduce your water consumption by up to 50%, depending on the model. For instance, a standard showerhead uses about 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while a low-flow showerhead may use only 1.5 gallons per minute. This can lead to significant water savings, especially if you love taking long showers.

Furthermore, installing a low-flow showerhead will allow you to save money on energy bills. Because you won’t require hot water, your water heater won’t have to overwork to keep up, helping minimize energy usage. Call a plumber today, and they will help you choose a low-flow showerhead with adjustable flow settings to make your shower experience enjoyable.

Install a Dishwasher

Purchasing a dishwasher might be expensive, but you will save a lot of water and money in the long run. Manufacturers design dishwashers to use a specific amount of water to clean a load of dishes. The current dishwashers are built to be more water-efficient than older models, making them a great investment.

Compared to hand-washing dishes, a dishwasher saves you up to 100 gallons of water per week, depending on your water-using habits. However, it is good to know that a dishwasher doesn’t guarantee water savings if used incorrectly. For example, running the appliance multiple times daily can use more water than washing dishes by hand. Still, you must ensure the dishwasher is inspected regularly by a professional. When looking for a dishwasher, ensure it is water-efficient and certified. If you are unsure which model is the best for your home, hire a plumber for help.

Call Us for More Advice on How to Save Water in Your Home

Water-efficient plumbing fixtures can save you a lot of money. You won’t have to pay expensive water bills now and then. Still, due to their smooth operation, wear and tear on the fixtures will be reduced, eliminating the need to call a professional to repair or replace your fixtures. If you need extra advice on saving water in your home, hire bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston. We will advise on the best water-efficient fixtures to install in your home. Also, if some of your existing fixtures are experiencing issues that result in waste, our experts will fix them for you.

See our most recent blog on this topic here.

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Why You Should Have Your Garbage Disposal System Inspected Regularly By A Plumber

Why You Should Have Your Garbage Disposal System Inspected Regularly By A Plumber

A garbage disposal system is a convenient kitchen appliance, as it can make cleaning up after meals easier and more efficient. But just like all other plumbing fixtures, regular maintenance, and inspections are necessary to ensure its functionality. If neglected, it can develop malfunctions, leading to a mess and costly repairs. In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at why you should prioritize having your garbage disposal system regularly inspected by a professional plumber.

Helps You Avoid Expensive and Emergency Repairs

As with any appliance, regular maintenance is key for keeping it running smoothly and efficiently for years. Inspecting your garbage disposal system regularly will help identify potential issues that may arise over time, so they can be fixed before they cause major damage or disruption in service. For example, if minor issues turn to a point where the unit becomes clogged and overflows your sink, you will need emergency plumbing repairs to prevent water damage. Similarly, if some components are not well lubricated or tightened, the unit can overheat or fail, leading to emergency repairs. Luckily, regular inspections can prevent emergency repairs. By identifying potential issues earlier, your garbage disposal will stay in good shape and save you more money.

Enhances Proper Functioning

A well-functioning garbage disposal unit ensures that food waste is disposed of safely and eliminates odors in your kitchen. Lack of maintenance is one of the factors that can cause the garbage disposal to reduce efficiency. When you hire a professional for regular inspections, they will check the blades, motor, flywheel, and other important components to ensure everything is sound. Still, they can check pipes connected to the disposal for leaks or other problems affecting the unit’s efficiency. If any issues are identified during a checkup, the plumber will make repairs to ensure the garbage system works efficiently. Therefore, to maintain the efficiency of your garbage disposal, ensure it is maintained regularly by an expert.

Promotes Safety

Garbage disposals have sharp blades that should be inspected regularly for dullness or damage. If these blades become dull or damaged, they could cause injury if used improperly. Therefore, regularly inspecting them ensures your kitchen’s safety when using the appliance properly. In addition, garbage disposal systems are run on electricity and can be unsafe if some components malfunction. A plumbing expert can check the wiring and connections related to the system and look for any exposed wires.

Increases the Lifespan of Your Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal system is a mechanical device that must be maintained regularly to work properly. Over time, some components can become worn or damaged, reducing the system’s lifespan. Without enough maintenance, the system can develop leaks and clogs that shorten the unit’s lifespan.

Besides, the blades inside your garbage disposal are made from steel, which makes them vulnerable to rust over time. If left unchecked for too long, the rust can cause damage not only to the blades but to other parts of the system as well. Regular inspections can help identify any signs of rust or corrosion before they become a major problem.

Keeps Things Clean

A buildup of food particles and debris inside the pipes leading from the garbage disposal can lead to unpleasant odors in your kitchen over time; this is especially true if you do not regularly clean out the garbage disposal. Regularly inspecting your garbage disposal system ensures all parts are clean and debris-free. A malfunctioning garbage disposal system is one of the biggest causes of unpleasant odors in a kitchen. Inspections can help identify potential sources of odors so that they can be addressed quickly and effectively before they become overwhelming or difficult to remove from your home. Additionally, an inspection can help determine if something is stuck inside the pipes, causing foul smells when in use or not in use.

Detection and Removal of Foreign Objects

It’s not uncommon for foreign objects, such as silverware or small toys, to find their way into the drainpipe while being washed off in the sink. These items are usually hard to spot until after they have been swallowed up by the grinding blades inside your garbage disposal system, making them difficult—if not impossible—to remove. However, regular inspections will help you detect such foreign objects before they cause permanent damage to both your plumbing system and budget.

Keep Pests Away

Are you tired of constantly battling pests in your home? One solution you may not have considered is having your garbage disposal system inspected regularly by a professional. Often, pests are attracted to the smell of decaying food in your garbage. A malfunctioning or clogged garbage disposal may not fully dispose of everything, leaving behind lingering odors that pests are drawn to. By having a plumber inspect your system, they can ensure it is operating efficiently and effectively, keeping those unwanted guests away. So, don’t wait until pests invade your home – take preventative measures by scheduling a regular inspection with your trusted plumbing professional.

Maintenance Advice

Finally, a professional plumber will provide maintenance advice on keeping your garbage disposal system running smoothly for years. They will suggest things like avoiding certain types of food waste (like bones) from entering the unit and other tips on reducing wear and tear on its components over time. This invaluable advice can help prevent costly repairs in the future and ensure maximum efficiency from your unit for years to come.

Call Us Today for Garbage Disposal Maintenance

Investing in regular checkups and inspections for your garbage disposal system can help you save money in the long run. If you need an expert to regularly inspect your garbage disposal system, hire bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston today. We have qualified professionals who will inspect your system regularly and fix any issues that could be costly if neglected. Other than maintenance, our experts can help you install a new garbage disposal if your current one is experiencing some issues.

See our most recent blog on this topic here.

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