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Adjusting A Trip Lever Drain Stopper

Hot and relaxing, a good soak in the tub is a please for almost everybody. Yet if your tub's drain stopper isn't working properly, a bath might be out of the question altogether. Fortunately, it might not take a plumber to get your tub back up to snuff. This article will teach you how to adjust a trip lever drain stopper on your own.

The Mechanism

The good news is that trip lever drain stoppers are fairly simple devices. The trip lever extending from your overflow plate connects to a series of metal rods. These are responsible for raising and lowering a special metal plunger--aka the stopper. When the trip lever is in its lowered position, the stopper occupies a hole in the drain pipe, thus keeping water from exiting the tub. Depressing the lever raises the stopper, causing the tub to drain.

Removing The Mechanism

The first step in any drain stopper adjustment is to remove the overflow plate. You should see one or two screws holding this in place. Use a screwdriver to take these out--but only after covering up the drain hole at the bottom of the tub. Otherwise you run a decent risk of losing a screw.

Once the screws are out, you should be able to lift the plate away. Be aware, however, that the overflow plate (including the trip lever) is connected directly to the rest of the mechanism. If you find that you're having trouble lifting it out, it's likely that corrosion has caused it to become stuck in place.

Try gently working the mechanism back and forth. If you're lucky, you may be able to get it loose in this way. Otherwise, pour a little drain cleaner in a paper cup. Folding the lip into a V-shape, pour this carefully into the hole behind the overflow plate. This ought to loosen up more stubborn corrosion.

Adjusting The Rod Length

If you were originally capable of moving the trip lever up and down freely, then it's likely the rod length is too short. As a result, the stopper won't reach the hole in the drain pipe--even when the lever is in the appropriate position.

Most stopper rods can be adjusted by means of a lock-nut on the top rod. Loosen this nut using either your fingers or a small wrench. Then rotate the threaded rod counterclockwise a few turns. Re-tighten the nut and reinsert the entire mechanism to test whether it is now long enough to block the drain hole. If not, continue adjusting as necessary. If you can't fix it on your own, check out the site for a plumber in your area.