Posted on: 11 June 2016
If the latest addition to your charm bracelet decides to take a dive down your sink drain, don't give in to despair. Quick thinking and immediate action may save it from sailing out to sea.
The most important action is to turn off the water if the faucet is running. This must be done as soon as possible, because reducing the water flow provides the greatest possibility that the bauble will will caught in the sink trap.
Unless the item in question is of great monetary or sentimental value, or you are unable or unwilling to perform some simple plumbing work, there's no need to hire an emergency plumber to come to retrieve your charm. Save your money for a more appropriate need, such as a burst pipe or a backed up sewer.
However, you must do it as quickly as possible. If another family member turns on the faucet, your charm may be washed away forever. Even if it remains in the trap, it must sit in a reservoir of sludge and putrid water until it is rescued.
What is a sink trap?
A sink trap is a drain fitting that connects to the drain pipe under your sink. It is shaped like the letter "J" and has a dual purpose. Because of its shape, it allows water to remain in its bottom loop instead of going straight from the sink to the main drain system of the home.
This enables items that are dropped into the sink drain to become temporarily trapped in the standing water so they won't present an clogging problem farther into the drain line, which is much less accessible if a drain clog occurs.
The water in the trap also provides a barrier against sewer gases that can enter your home through your drain line.
How can the sink trap be removed and cleaned to find your charm?
All you need is an adjustable wrench, some teflon tape (thin plastic ribbon used for sealing pipe threads), and the willingness to deal with stagnant water.
It's a good idea to remove anything stored under the sink that can't be contaminated with odorous water, and to place paper towels and a pail beneath the trap when you remove it.
You will need to loosen the two large nuts that hold the trap in place by turning them counterclockwise with your wrench. Hold the trap upright as you loosen the second nut to keep the foul water inside the trap. Place the trap in the pail and take it to another sink or outdoors to clean it.
You may need a bottle brush or something similar to remove built up sludge from inside the trap. Obviously, if you are cleaning the trap in another sink, close off the drain, and if you are using a garden hose outside, clean it inside the bucket so your charm doesn't get lost.
Hopefully, after the odious task, your charm can be found.
Replacing the sink trap
Wrap a few layers of teflon tape in a clockwise direction around the lower threaded end of the trap, then replace both nuts by turning them in a clockwise direction and tightening them with the wrench.
If your retrieval effort was successful, you will have an interesting story to tell to the next person who compliments you on the runaway charm. If you can't retrieve the jewelry on your own, contact an emergency plumber.Share