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Family Handyman
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36 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am converting an old tub into a shower. A 1.5" drain is there and a 2" drain is required for a shower. I dug up the mud around the drain and here is what I have.

Brass shower drain
connected (soldered) to lead pipe
connected to a drum trap
drum trap connected to ??

Im not sure where the drum trap connects to since its under the cement. Since I am redoing the entire bathroom (new tile floor also) Im leaning towards breaking cement to remove the entire pipe and replace it with a new one.

Are drum traps obsolete?

Is it best to replace them with a p-trap?
 

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DIY'r
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520 Posts
They are obsolete for a couple of reasons:

- P-traps are much easier to snake out if there is a clog. Drum traps have offset connections for inflow and outflow. They usually have a screw cover to access the inside of the drum and scoop out crud. That can be unsightly/hard to access though.

- Drum traps clog more easily because stuff can accumulate in the drum -- a P-trap is "self cleaning" in that the water scours the inside of the pipe as it moves along.

Anyways, I'd want to replace it if I were in your shoes. However if you have a lead waste pipe coming off the drum trap under the concrete, you'd probably end up destroying it while breaking up the floor. (Lead is much much softer than cast iron or PVC).

Then again, the lead pipe (or whatever is connected to the drum's outflow) is probably near the end of its useful life anyway, just judging by the fact that it's connected to an old drum trap. So it might be worth replacing.

At the very least yes, you should replace the drum with a P-trap if you can get to the waste pipe.
 

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Family Handyman
Joined
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36 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
They are obsolete for a couple of reasons:

- P-traps are much easier to snake out if there is a clog. Drum traps have offset connections for inflow and outflow. They usually have a screw cover to access the inside of the drum and scoop out crud. That can be unsightly/hard to access though.

- Drum traps clog more easily because stuff can accumulate in the drum -- a P-trap is "self cleaning" in that the water scours the inside of the pipe as it moves along.

Anyways, I'd want to replace it if I were in your shoes. However if you have a lead waste pipe coming off the drum trap under the concrete, you'd probably end up destroying it while breaking up the floor. (Lead is much much softer than cast iron or PVC).

Then again, the lead pipe (or whatever is connected to the drum's outflow) is probably near the end of its useful life anyway, just judging by the fact that it's connected to an old drum trap. So it might be worth replacing.

At the very least yes, you should replace the drum with a P-trap if you can get to the waste pipe.
Thanks for the reply. Im going to bust the concrete and have a plumber come out and put a new drain line and P trap. He says if I do the concrete work it would only take them 2 hours or so. Regarding the drum trap, I never knew it was there until I removed the flooring. We had a couple layers of flooring and the trap access was hidden below the flooring. Good thing it never overflowed...
 

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Drum traps

Replace, replace, replace with P trap had some bad experiences with drums.

Especially on second floor of row homes at bathtub drain with no room, never can get the top off have to destroy it.

Good question
 

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They are not exactly obsolete, since they are still available. Since you need the piping changed anyways (to 2") you may as well go to a P-trap. In many old homes, the bathroom floor was concrete with those hex tiles. The drum trap offered a way to clean them out with the threaded lid (which was normally at floor level), even though they were a bear to remove.
 
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