What’s it like to go around a U-Bend?

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Sometimes, newcomers to bathroom plumbing wonder why they need a U bend.’’’

In short, the U Bend tube prevents foul odors from rising from the sewer or other drainage pipes because water trapped in it acts as a barrier. It is therefore an integral part of the building regulations.

Beware: if smells arise, investigate and put things right to avoid inflammable and toxic gas. This includes methane, which is highly inflammable and deadly.

Things are usually straightforward when it comes to your bathroom sink. In a U-bend, or more typically a ‘bottle trap’ or ‘p trap’, you can protect yourself from clogging and clean out the trap easily should it become clogged with hair, fatty deposits, or calcium.

Getting caught in the sink trap

The cabinet surrounding a trap often overlooks the practicalities, so please, please consider the basics and give yourself access to the trap that allows it to be removed and repositioned without requiring you to develop double-jointed wrists or to demolish the cabinet around it.

You are able to let the whole thing hang out in a clean, classy way without having to conceal it by choosing a chrome bottle trap that’s attractive, even designer.

The depths of the ocean

The U bend on toilet bowls is an almost universal feature, but baths can present a bit of a problem. It is usually boxed in, so if your plumber hasn’t paid enough attention to the depth of the U bend then it can be a bigger problem, as well as future cleaning: professional rodding is sometimes required, especially for waste pipes buried in the ground. In this regard, submerged baths are particularly problematic.

When possible, prevent these problems from occurring by choosing one of the attractive bath fascia panels available from Plumbworld.co.uk which can all be removed for maintenance. Alternatively, go Victorian with a Burlington cast-iron bath that shows its pipework unapologetically.

It is also difficult to install a proper drain on a shower due to the limited clearance available. In recent years, flush-mounted wet rooms have gained in popularity. Everyone wants to avoid a big step up to the shower floor, but if you do not want that you need to allow for a decent cut-out under the cubicle. If you use the flexible concertina type of drain pipe in very tight places, and if the U profile isn’t clearly defined when the pipe is installed, then a small layer of water can evaporate or leak, causing you a serious problem that is hard to solve without significant costs and disruption.



Ollie is a DIY expert who is particularly passionate about renovating kitchens and bathrooms. Ollie enjoys biking and hiking during his free time.

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