When we were kids, it seemed like "down the drain" meant "gone forever." The realm under that mysterious, mischievous drain seemed impenetrable and dangerous to us. We strove to keep our small toys or action-figure weapons from descending into the terrifying abyss, keeping tabs on all of our stuff, edging away from the drain like nervous puppies—and if by some cold twist of fate something of ours did end up going down the drain, well, we generally regarded that as the final farewell. Luckily, as we can now see in our adult years, that is not the case.
Whether it's a cherished wedding band or a 25-cent plastic ring, you can retrieve objects that go down the drain quickly and easily.
Losing an Object in the Drain
If it's small enough to go down the drain, that's probably exactly where it's going at some point—or, at least, this is a safe thing to assume. Losing an object in the drain isn't too big of a deal, though, especially if you have a p-trap. Although some items do run the risk of being lost if the water isn't turned off quickly enough (perhaps those childhood fears do have some justification), a p-trap is likely to catch almost anything that happens to slip down the drain. In fact, it's actually a good idea to retrieve any solid object that goes down the drain, whether the item is valuable or not—if left, the object could begin to gather hair and other debris, eventually leading to a clogged drain. Retrieving items from the drain, however, is not difficult, and requires a few quick steps.
So, since all solid items need to be removed from the drain, how can you do it? Here's a quick look.
- Step 1. As soon as something goes down the drain, stop the water. This is a crucial first step because leaving the water on will force the object farther down the pipes, and retrieval will be impossible. Even if you're not sure the item went all the way down the drain, stop the water first, then check it out.
- Step 2. The trap under your sink, originally invented to block the rising of sewer odors, functions as a sort of backup. If something goes down the drain, it's likely to end up in that trap. You'll need to open up the trap. While the specifics vary depending on plumbing, the basics apply: pull up a bucket, grab a wrench, and focus on the "J" part of the trap.
- Step 3. Once you've opened the trap, you can easily retrieve your lost item. Take this opportunity to clean out the trap of other debris, too, and then do the reverse of what you did to take the trap apart. If something goes wrong, be sure to contact a plumber immediately.
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