How to Open a Stuck Drum Trap
Older homes have drum traps connected to their bathtub and sewer lines, which act like modern day P-trap taps. The drum, slightly larger than a soda can, holds water and stops sewer gasses from traveling back up the pipe into the bathroom. The trap has a screw-on circular lid on its top end, which when removed allows access to the inside of the drum to manually remove any blockages. The lid has a central nut, which is removed with an adjustable wrench and spray lubricant.
Locate the drum trap that is attached to the bathtub or shower sewer line, usually in close proximity to the drain hole. Feel the top end of the drum trap for the lid's central nut. The lid and nut may or may not be visible, depending on where it is installed.
Place the jaws of an adjustable wrench around the lid's central nut, and turn the wrench handle counterclockwise. If the lid won't budge, wipe off all grease and dirt from around the lid's rim with a rag.
Apply an ample amount of lubricant spray all around the lid's rim and wait 15 minutes for the spray to work its way into the lid's threads. Place the wrench back onto the lid's nut, and turn the wrench handle counter clockwise. Apply more spray if the lid won't budge, wait another 15 minutes and try the wrench again. Repeat this two-fold process until the drum trap's lid loosens and can be removed.
- If the drum trap's lid absolutely won't budge, consider having the trap cut from the sewer line and having a regular P-trap installed in its place. Old drum traps are no longer accepted by code, and can clog up with sewer sludge quite frequently.
Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images