Steve Skeldon, above ground product manager at Wavin’s Osma brand, discusses an alternative trap design that provides all the solutions.
In the past, water traps have come in all shapes and sizes and, since their invention in 1775 have remained a key plumbing tool, but their purpose has always remained the same: to create a water seal between the sewer and the living space. This protects kitchens and bathrooms from foul smells and sewer air, which might otherwise escape into the room from the drainage system below. However, are we trapped in the past by only relying on traditional water traps? Although effective, they can often take up a lot of space and reduce design freedom.
Choosing the right trap for the job
Many types of water trap are available depending on the requirements of the plumbing fixture in question. For example, in baths and shower trays, shallower traps are the most suitable design, as there is often limited space beneath the fixture. ‘P’ and ‘S’ traps are generally used beneath kitchen sinks, using bends in the pipework to create a water seal. Alternatively, ‘bottle’ traps are favoured for pedestal-mounted washbasins, as they fit more easily in small areas.
While these traditional traps still have their place and have served us well for centuries, they come with their own set of problems. Even with the most compact designs, the shape often means valuable space is taken up, causing difficulties for the bathroom and kitchen design. They also require regular maintenance as blockages are common. This in itself can be a very time consuming and, frankly, unpleasant task.
Choose innovation to avoid frustration
As technology develops, plumbing and construction professionals are increasingly looking for alternative, more functional products. To avoid the drawbacks of a traditional water trap, more plumbers are turning to the waterless trap. First invented by Wavin 20 years ago and now hailed as one of the best alternative solutions to the traditional trap, the HepvO uses a self-sealing elastomeric membrane, instead of a traditional water seal, to prevent sewer gases from escaping into an occupied space.
How does it work?
The self-sealing, elastomeric membrane creates a seal between the sewer and the building above. This means that as water enters the silicone valve, the membrane opens and stays open until the flow stops. The membrane has been developed so that only a very small amount of water is required to open it, meaning it can also be used in condensate drainage and discharge from unvented hot water storage systems.
With no need for a U-bend, the HepvO can be installed vertically or horizontally and can be used for a wide range of household plumbing applications, from showers to kitchen sinks. The straight-through design also limits the build-up of waste material and ensures an outstanding flow, reducing the risk of blockages and the costly maintenance work required to resolve them.
In addition, as the silicone membrane within the trap admits air into the drainage system, there’s no need to add a 40mm air admittance valve for branch ventilation. Holiday homes in particular benefit from the attributes of the HepvO as they are especially suited to systems that go unused for a long time when compared with water traps which are prone to evaporation.
Finally, for homeowners, a pleasing aesthetic is often just as important as practicality and efficiency. To ensure customers are pleased with the end result, installers should bear this in mind when working on bathrooms and kitchens. HepvO is the answer to achieving this balance. Not only does it simplify maintenance requirements it also minimise the visual impact of drainpipes and discharge systems.
By understanding the benefits of waterless traps, you can achieve the desired result while providing the customer with value-added expertise and advice.