It happens to the best of us at one time or another. We’re standing over the sink, washing the filth off of our hands when, suddenly, we realize we’ve dropped something valuable. We stand over the basin, watching as a ring or other precious item disappears down the drain, and wish that our plumbing wasn’t quite so reliable!
If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, don’t give up hope yet! Thanks to the “P-trap” in the sink, most valuables can be easily salvaged. Listed below are the steps to retrieving your lost item before it disappears for good.
Step One: Stop the Water
Before you start working, turn off the water flow to the sink. This will prevent a gigantic mess when someone decides to wash their hands and the water pours out on the floor. If there is a garbage disposal on your sink, shut it off immediately! Garbage disposals can cause serious safety issues for anyone working on the sink; use extreme caution when working around them or, better yet, call a trusted plumber to do the work for you.
Step Two: Take Off Your P-trap
Under each sink is a curved portion of pipe called a “P-trap”; this piece is used to keep sewer gasses from passing back into your house, while also catching any heavy debris that might clog your entire system. Once you have located the P-trap, put some towels and a bucket under it; this will prevent water and debris from spilling on your floor. The P-trap is held in place with a nut that connects it to the pipe immediately under the sink and another nut holds it steady against the pipe that runs out of the house. Depending on your pipe, these nuts can be loosened and released either by hand or pliers. Once the nuts are loose and released, pull the P-trap out and away from the sink. The P-trap will now no longer be connected to your sink or wall.
Step Three: Dump the P-trap
Use the bucket you placed under the sink to catch the contents of the P-trap. Simply turn the pipe upside down and release all the water and debris into the bucket. If there seems to be something stuck in the P-trap, you can use a metal coat hanger to push it out.
Step Four: Sort Through the Debris
You might want to use plastic gloves for this step because you will now need to reach into the bucket and sort through the water, dirt, and debris for your valuable item. Hopefully, it will be easy to find and require little effort.
Step Five: Reassemble Your Sink
After finding your valuable item, it’s time to put the sink back together. Using a pair of pliers or your hands, carefully place the P-trap back in its spot and tighten the nuts back in place. Turn the water back on and run it for a few minutes to make sure that your sink drains properly.
Step 6: Call a Reliable Plumber
If you find that the job is simply too big, you encounter problems, or you aren’t able to find your possession in the P-trap, it’s definitely time to call a trustworthy plumber. Any additional action not listed above can cause serious plumbing problems that may end up costing you unnecessary expense.
Recovering a lost item isn’t as hard as it sounds. By using the steps listed above, you can quickly retrieve that missing possession with little to no trouble.