Bathtub Stopper Defective

Problem: The stopper in the tub doesn’t operate, doesn’t seal, or causes slow drainage.

Background: Two basic stopper mechanisms are found in tubs. One is the trip-lever type which uses a trip lever to open and close a brass stopper inside the tub’s drain. These have a strainer, instead of a stopper, at the drain opening. Another is a pop-up type, in which the lever is linked to the stopper at the drain opening.

What to do: Both types can be taken apart by removing the 2 screws on the decorative overflow plate, lifting the plate off, and then working the mechanism out through the over flow hole. For trip-lever types, clean the mechanism of debris and apply small amounts of grease on its moving parts. For pop-up types, clean off debris and check the condition of the 0-ring, which is positioned underneath the top lip of the stopper. If the 0-ring is worn or missing, replace it with a new one. If the pop-up stop per doesn’t work even with the new 0-ring, remove it and check to see if the linkage needs adjustment. Link age that is adjusted so that it is too long will keep the stopper from sealing properly.

Special advice: Keep in mind that accumulated hair on the linkage of a pop-up mechanism can cause slow drainage. When adjusting linkage on this type of mechanism, make small adjustments at any one time, by turning the threaded rod into the brass yoke, which connects to the trip lever.

Helpful hint: If the stopper mechanism seems to be unrepairable, or if you only need to replace components, take the entire mechanism when you go to the store so you will be sure to get the right parts.