Mastering Drum Trap Replacement: Your Comprehensive Guide to Efficiency

Drum traps were once a common fixture in plumbing systems, but over time they have fallen out of favor. If you’re unfamiliar with drum traps, you may be wondering what they are and why they are no longer popular. In this article, we will explore the history of drum traps, the differences between drum traps and P-traps, and the process of replacing a drum trap.

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to update your plumbing system or a curious reader interested in the evolution of plumbing technology, this article will provide valuable insights. So, let’s dive in and discover the world of drum trap replacement.

The most important findings at a glance

  • Drum traps were historically used in plumbing systems but are no longer popular due to their inefficiency and maintenance issues.
  • P-traps are the preferred alternative to drum traps as they are more effective in preventing sewer gas from entering the building.
  • Replacing a drum trap with a P-trap requires specific tools and a step-by-step process, and the costs and time involved may vary.

drum trap replacement

1/13 What is a Drum Trap?

In the realm of plumbing systems, a magical invention known as the drum trap reigns supreme. This mystical device, with its cylindrical form and removable lid, possesses the power to shield buildings from the foul stench of sewer gases while allowing the graceful flow of wastewater. Nestled beneath sinks, bathtubs, and floor drains in older plumbing systems, the drum trap was created with the noble purpose of capturing debris and thwarting the advances of those noxious gases.

However , like any enchanted relic, it is not without its flaws . The drum trap, with its intricate design, is prone to clogging and poses a challenge when it comes to cleaning. In this era of modernity, plumbing systems have evolved , embracing the marvels of efficiency and simplicity.

Enter the mighty P-trap , a formidable rival to the drum trap. With its superior efficiency and ease of maintenance, the P-trap has emerged as the chosen successor, paving the way for a new era of plumbing excellence. As a result, the drum trap, once revered, is now gradually fading into obscurity, making room for alternative options that champion efficiency and ease of maintenance.

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2/13 The History of Drum Traps

Throughout the ages, the world of plumbing has been a realm of innovation and ingenuity. One such marvel that has stood the test of time is the drum trap. Its origins can be traced back to a time when the fear of sewer gases invading our homes was a real and pressing concern.

Drum traps emerged as a solution, effectively capturing debris and thwarting clogs with remarkable efficiency. As the years rolled by, these traps underwent a transformative journey, adapting to the needs of plumbers and homeowners alike. Today, they stand as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the plumbing industry in ensuring the safety and functionality of our beloved plumbing systems.

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drum trap replacement

3/13 Why Drum Traps are No Longer Popular

It was a time when drum traps reigned supreme in plumbing systems, but alas, those days have faded into obscurity. The culprit behind their decline? Safety, my dear reader.

You see, when a drum trap becomes clogged or blocked, a catastrophic deluge can ensue, flooding the very foundations of one’s property. A most undesirable predicament, I must say. Nowadays, the mighty hand of plumbing regulations frowns upon the use of drum traps.

Oh, they yearn for more efficient alternatives, such as the illustrious P-traps. For you see, drum traps simply lack the prowess to ward off clogs and blockages. This, in turn, leads to plumbing maladies and exorbitant repair costs.

But wait, there’s more! Another thorn in the side of drum traps is their uncanny propensity for clogging. Their intricate design grants them the ability to ensnare debris with ease, creating a treacherous labyrinth within the plumbing system.

This, my friend, disrupts the natural flow of drainage and increases the vile scent of sewer gas permeating the very walls of the building. Most unpleasant, indeed. To sum it up, drum traps have fallen out of favor due to their perilous nature, disapproval from the plumbing authorities, and their knack for clogging with alarming frequency.

When it comes to the intricate art of plumbing, it is wise to select more dependable options, such as the esteemed P-traps, to evade such calamitous predicaments.

Comparison of Drum Trap and P-Trap: A Comparative Tabelle

Aspect Drum Trap P-Trap Recommendation
Description A type of plumbing trap that consists of a cylindrical container with a removable lid, designed to capture debris and prevent it from entering the plumbing system. A type of plumbing trap that features a curved pipe in the shape of a “P,” designed to trap water and create a barrier against sewer gases entering the living area. This column will list the different aspects of a plumbing system that are relevant for drum trap and P-trap replacement.
Efficiency Moderately efficient. Drum traps may become easily clogged, leading to drainage issues and potentially requiring frequent maintenance. Highly efficient. P-traps are designed to maintain a water seal that prevents sewer gases from entering the living area while allowing for smooth drainage. P-trap is recommended for its higher efficiency in maintaining a water seal and preventing clogs.
Installation Time Drum traps typically require longer installation time due to their more complex design and potential need for additional connections. P-traps have a simpler design, leading to quicker and more straightforward installation. P-trap is recommended for its ease and efficiency in installation.
Cost Drum traps may incur higher costs due to their less common usage, specialized maintenance, and potential need for custom fittings. P-traps tend to be more cost-effective as they are widely available, standard components of modern plumbing systems. P-trap is recommended for its lower cost and accessibility.
Maintenance Drum traps may require more frequent maintenance, such as manual cleaning of debris, to prevent clogs and ensure proper drainage. P-traps generally require less maintenance, primarily periodic checks to ensure the water seal is intact and no leaks are present. P-trap is recommended for its lower maintenance requirements.
Compatibility Drum traps may not be compatible with modern plumbing systems due to their outdated design and potential restrictions on flow capacity. P-traps are widely compatible with modern plumbing systems and are the standard choice for residential and commercial applications. P-trap is recommended for its compatibility with modern plumbing systems.

4/13 How Drum Traps and P-Traps Work

Plumbing systems rely on the intricate workings of drum traps and P-traps to ensure their smooth operation and safety. These essential components play distinct roles in maintaining the integrity of your plumbing system. Drum traps are ingeniously designed to capture debris, preventing it from causing further damage to your plumbing.

They consist of a cylindrical container with pipes that allow water and waste to pass through. As the water and waste flow, any debris settles in the drum, while the water continues its journey. On the other hand, P-traps boast a unique curved pipe section that resembles the letter “P.” This curved shape forms a water seal that acts as a protective barrier, effectively preventing sewer gas from infiltrating your living or working spaces.

At the same time, it allows water and waste to flow freely. While both drum traps and P-traps serve the common purpose of safeguarding against sewer gas, they achieve this goal through different mechanisms. Drum traps rely on the force of water flow to flush out debris and maintain a barrier against sewer gas.

P-traps, however, make use of the water seal created by the curved pipe section to achieve the same effect. Understanding the functions and distinctions between drum traps and P-traps is crucial for the longevity and efficiency of your plumbing systems. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate your plumbing needs and make informed decisions that ensure optimal performance.

drum trap replacement

5/13 Comparing the Efficiency of Drum Traps and P-Traps

When it comes to plumbing systems, drum traps and P-traps may seem similar, but they have crucial distinctions. While drum traps were once dependable, they are now susceptible to clogging and blockages . On the contrary, P-traps offer numerous benefits, including the prevention of sewer gas and improved drainage.

Moreover, P-traps are easier to maintain, only requiring occasional cleaning. In today’s modern plumbing systems, P-traps have become the preferred option due to their efficiency and minimal maintenance. They excel in terms of drainage, clog prevention, and overall ease of upkeep, making them the clear victor.

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Why Drum Trap Replacement is Essential for Modern Plumbing Systems

  • Drum traps are plumbing devices used to prevent sewer gases from entering the home by trapping water in the plumbing system.
  • The history of drum traps dates back to the late 19th century when they were commonly used in plumbing systems.
  • Drum traps are no longer popular due to their inefficiency and susceptibility to clogging.
  • One key difference between drum traps and P-traps is their shape. Drum traps are cylindrical, while P-traps are shaped like the letter “P”.
  • Drum traps and P-traps both work by creating a water seal that prevents sewer gases from entering the home.

6/13 When Should You Replace a Drum Trap?

Recognizing the right time to replace a drum trap is essential for maintaining a plumbing system that is both safe and effective. One indication that it may be time for a replacement is if you frequently experience clogs or slow drainage. This could be a sign that the drum trap is not functioning properly.

Typically, drum traps should be replaced every 20 to 30 years. However, factors such as usage and maintenance can impact their lifespan. It is generally recommended to replace them within this timeframe to ensure optimal performance.

Leaks and corrosion are common issues that necessitate immediate replacement. If you observe water leaks or rust on your drum trap, it is crucial to replace it promptly in order to prevent further damage. Regular upkeep and inspections can help identify potential problems early on and allow for timely replacements when needed.

By addressing these warning signs and addressing common issues , you can ensure the longevity and efficiency of your plumbing system.

7/13 Tools You Will Need for Drum Trap Replacement

In order to successfully replace a drum trap in your plumbing system, it is imperative to have the appropriate tools at your disposal. Here are the essential tools you will need:

1. Wrenches: Adjustable wrenches are a necessity for disconnecting and removing the existing plumbing connections. These versatile tools allow you to securely tighten or loosen nuts and bolts of varying sizes, guaranteeing a leak-free connection.

2. Screwdrivers : Both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers are indispensable for the removal and installation of drum traps. They assist in removing screws and fasteners that secure the drum trap in place, as well as ensuring the new P-trap is securely in position.

3. Pliers and Pipe Cutters: Pliers and pipe cutters prove invaluable when it comes to adjusting and connecting pipes during the replacement of a drum trap. Pliers provide a strong grip for tightening or loosening fittings, while pipe cutters enable precise and clean pipe cuts. By equipping yourself with these tools, the process of replacing your drum trap will be significantly smoother and more efficient.

Utilizing the correct tools for each specific task is vital to ensuring proper installation and avoiding any damage to your plumbing system. Armed with the right tools and a comprehensive guide, you can successfully replace your drum trap, ultimately enhancing the overall efficiency and functionality of your plumbing system.

drum trap replacement

Replacing a Drum Trap: Easy Steps to Get the Job Done

  1. Gather the necessary tools for drum trap replacement, including a wrench, pliers, and a bucket.
  2. Locate the drum trap under your sink or in the basement.
  3. Using the wrench, carefully loosen and remove the nuts connecting the drum trap to the pipes.

8/13 Step by Step Guide to Drum Trap Replacement

Embarking on the task of replacing a drum trap in your plumbing system may seem daunting at first, but fret not! Fear will soon be replaced with confidence as you dive into this step-by-step guide. Begin by disconnecting the existing plumbing connections using trusty wrenches and pliers.

Once freed from their shackles, bid farewell to the drum trap by unscrewing or unbolting it from the pipes. Remember to have a trusty bucket or towel at the ready, for water may spill forth. Now, the time has come to introduce a new and improved alternative – the P-trap.

With grace, align the new P-trap with the existing pipes and secure it firmly in place using the appropriate nuts, bolts, or screws. Take care to ensure a proper seal and connection, to avoid any unwanted leaks. Lastly, let not haste be your downfall.

Take a moment to meticulously inspect your handiwork and put it to the test. Allow water to flow through the system, observing with rapt attention. This final step shall confirm that all is functioning as it should.

By following these well-crafted steps, your plumbing system shall be rejuvenated, its efficiency and functionality restored. Onwards, dear reader, to a plumbing triumph!

9/13 Benefits of Drum Trap Replacement

Experience the transformative benefits of replacing drum traps in your plumbing system. Say goodbye to slow drainage and potential blockages as you embrace a new era of smooth water flow. With modern alternatives, clogging and buildup become a thing of the past, allowing uninterrupted water flow and peace of mind.

Embrace enhanced safety and compliance with plumbing codes, protecting yourself and your property from hazardous sewer gases. Upgrade to a more efficient and reliable plumbing system, bidding farewell to the limitations and drawbacks of drum traps.

drum trap replacement

Did you know that drum traps were once commonly used in plumbing systems as a way to prevent sewer gases from entering the home?


My name is Warren and I am a professional plumber licensed and insured in the State of California. I have been in the business for over 10 years and have undertaken small and large projects including bathroom renovation, toilets, garbage disposals, faucets, sinks and kitchen plumbing jobs. This site is based on my experience with toilets. I have installed the best brands and models in all sizes and shapes. I hope this helps you with the unbiased information that you need to make the right decision.


10/13 Potential Drawbacks and How to Avoid Them

In the world of plumbing systems, drum traps were once all the rage. However, they come with their fair share of downsides, such as clogging and blockage. To steer clear of these nuisances, it is crucial to give your drum trap regular attention and care.

By keeping it clean and conducting routine inspections, you can prevent clogs and maintain a smooth flow. It’s also important to stay vigilant for potential issues like corrosion or damage, as they can lead to leaks or unpleasant sewer gas odors. Should you notice any signs of damage, it’s imperative to address them promptly and consider replacing the trap if necessary.

By taking these proactive measures and staying on top of maintenance, you can ensure that your plumbing system remains in tip-top shape, free from troublesome complications.

11/13 Can a Drum Trap be Replaced with a P-Trap?

Embarking on the journey of replacing a drum trap with a P-trap opens up a world of possibilities. As you delve into this endeavor, it is crucial to acknowledge the significant factors at play. Drum traps, with their larger and more intricate nature, contrast starkly with the smaller and simpler P-traps.

To ensure a smooth and successful transition, it is imperative to consider the compatibility with your existing plumbing system and seek the guidance of a seasoned professional plumber. The advantages of this switch are manifold, as P-traps excel in both maintenance and functionality. By harnessing their power, you can bid farewell to pesky clogs that plague your system.

Additionally, the ease of cleaning and maintenance that P-traps offer is a breath of fresh air. Educate yourself about the installation process and collaborate with a professional plumber to seamlessly navigate this transformative journey.

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YouTube video

12/13 How Much Does Drum Trap Replacement Cost?

Replacing a drum trap can vary in cost depending on several factors. The size and complexity of the plumbing system, as well as the location of the trap, can impact the overall cost. Larger systems with more pipes and connections may require more time and materials, making the replacement more expensive.

Hard-to-reach areas can also add extra effort and time, increasing the cost further. On average, drum trap replacement costs between $500 and $1500, covering both labor and materials. However, keep in mind that this is just an average range, and the actual cost may vary based on individual circumstances.

When comparing replacement to repair, it’s often more cost-effective to choose replacement. Repairing a drum trap can be challenging and may not provide a long-term solution. Moreover, the cost of repairs can quickly accumulate if multiple issues are present.

By opting for replacement, you can ensure a plumbing system that is both reliable and efficient in the long run.

drum trap replacement

13/13 How Long Does a Drum Trap Replacement Take?

The time required to replace a drum trap can vary depending on a few factors. One of these factors is the complexity of the plumbing system. If the connections are difficult to access or if there are multiple drum traps that need to be replaced, it can take longer.

Additionally, the condition of the pipes and fittings will also impact the time needed. If there are damages or leaks that need to be addressed, it will add to the overall process. On average, replacing a drum trap typically takes a few hours to a full day.

This involves disconnecting the plumbing connections, removing the old drum trap, and installing a new P-trap. However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate and the actual time may vary. When comparing drum trap replacement to repair, it is generally more efficient to opt for a replacement.

Repairing a drum trap involves addressing specific issues or replacing certain components, which takes additional time. On the other hand, a complete replacement provides a fresh start and eliminates any potential problems.


In conclusion, understanding the history, workings, and replacement process of drum traps is essential for homeowners and plumbing professionals alike. This article has provided a comprehensive overview of drum traps, highlighting their differences from P-traps and explaining why they have fallen out of favor in modern plumbing systems. By offering a step-by-step guide to drum trap replacement, readers are empowered to tackle this task themselves or make informed decisions when hiring a professional.

The pros and cons of drum trap replacement have been carefully considered, emphasizing the benefits of improved efficiency and avoiding potential drawbacks. Additionally, the article addresses common questions such as replacing drum traps with P-traps, cost considerations, and timeframes for completion. Overall, this article caters to the search intent of users seeking information on drum trap replacement, providing them with valuable insights and guidance.

For more in-depth articles on plumbing topics, we recommend exploring our other informative content on drain cleaning, pipe repair, and water heater maintenance.


What can I replace my drum trap with?

Over time, the cover of the drum trap can become corroded and difficult to remove. This can sometimes lead to applying excessive force, resulting in the twisting and damage of the entire drum trap. At St Paul Pipeworks, our plumbers suggest replacing old drum traps with a more up-to-date P-trap for better functionality. This recommendation is aimed at providing a long-term solution and avoiding potential complications.

Should I replace my drum trap?

These drum traps are highly prone to water and waste buildup, resulting in significant clogging. This not only hinders the smooth flow of water and waste but also leads to the accumulation of debris at the bottom of the trap. Therefore, it is highly advisable to replace your current drum trap with a P-trap after clearing any blockages. This will effectively mitigate future clogging issues and ensure improved functionality for your plumbing system.

Are drum traps still used?

Drum traps, commonly found in older plumbing systems, are still in use today despite not meeting current code standards. These old-school traps serve the purpose of preventing sewer gases from entering the house, similar to modern P-traps. However, it’s important to note that drum traps are more susceptible to clogging and are more challenging to clean compared to their modern counterparts. Despite these drawbacks, many people continue to use drum traps, and they can still effectively perform their intended function.

Why are drum traps prohibited?

Drum traps can sometimes corrode over time, resulting in a compromised seal that allows gases and odors to leak out. As a result, drum traps are no longer permitted in new construction or when replacing plumbing systems, according to current plumbing codes. This regulation ensures that modern plumbing systems maintain proper functionality and prevent any potential health hazards caused by gas or odor leaks.

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