A bottle trap is also called a “decorative lavatory trap”, and it is designed to be installed for sinks where the plumbing below the sink is visible. It can be coordinated with a specific high-style finish, such as weathered copper or oil-rubbed bronze, to match the faucets.
Although a bottle trap is more-or-less a P-trap, it depends on an internal tube to create the trap seal, similar to a bell trap. If the interior tube fails due to corrosion or another problem, sewer gas could enter the home, and it is not examinable to verify that that the trap is functional. Also, it is not self cleaning/scouring. So a bottle trap is not approved by the plumbing codes, although some jurisdictions may allow them as a “special condition.”
The photo below shows one we came across on a recent home inspection that was installed by the homeowner as part of a kit that came with a “designer” sink.
For other prohibited trap designs, see our blog post What plumbing traps are illegal by code?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about PLUMBING:
• How can I protect my pipes to keep them from bursting during a hard winter freeze in North Florida?
• Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?
• What causes a gurgling sound when a bathtub or sink drains?
• Are drop-in toilet bowl cleaner tablets safe?
• What can I add to my septic tank to help it work better?
• What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping under sinks?
• Why is there mold inside my toilet tank?
• What are the pros and cons of a wall-mounted toilet?
• Which plumbing fixtures require water shut off valves in a home?
• How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank system or sewer?
• Are plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, and PEX) safe for drinking water?
• Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?
• How can I locate my septic tank?
• Is a hot water faucet handle required to be on the left?
• Can you live in a house while the plumbing is being replaced?
• Why can't PVC be used for water pipe inside a house?
• What are the common problems to look for when the plumbing has been replaced in a house?
• What's that powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?
• How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?
• What causes low water pressure in a house?
• Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house?
• How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?
• What are the pipes on my roof?
• Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket?
• My water bill went way up last month. How do I look for a leak?
• Why does the water have a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?
• What is an "S-Trap" under my sink? Why is it a problem?
• Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it?
• What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?
• Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable?
• Does a home inspector check the plumbing under the floor slab?
• Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?
Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.