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5 Steps to Fix Your Bathtub Drain Stopper

If your bathtub won’t hold water, you cannot experience the relaxation that only a deep soak can provide. Many plumbing jobs should only be tackled by a local professional plumber, but there are some fixes that you can attempt yourself. The most common cause of a bathtub that cannot hold water is a problem with the drain stopper. In this article, we will look at five steps that you can follow in order to prevent your bathtub from draining prematurely.

Step 1: Establish the Cause of the Problem

A professional plumber often understands the cause of most plumbing problems after a brief description. For the rest of us, there may be a little more head scratching, but there is one common cause to investigate first. The most likely cause for a prematurely draining bathtub is the drain stopper. Start by locating the drain stopper cover plate and remove it so that you can reach the linkage.

Step 2: Expose the Drain Stopper Linkage

The linkage is the mechanism that moves the drain stopper in an up or down position. This part needs to be inspected to ensure that it’s connected correctly and functioning properly. This is easy to do; simply pull the lever fully up until you can see the linkage exposed.

Step 3: Check and Fix the Connections

For this step, you will need a magnetic tool that you can easily find in most hardware stores. Use this tool to locate the plug and spring and then reconnect those parts to the linkage assembly. This can be a little fiddly, but if you have a steady hand and you take your time, you should be able to reconnect everything.

Step 4: Beware of Bends and Tangles

The drain stopper linkage assembly has a tendency to bend or become tangled when you’re reconnecting everything. It’s important to ensure that the linkage is hanging downwards directly and that at the top of the linkage, the U-shaped pin is present. If the linkage pin is broken or missing, you cannot reconnect the drain stopper, and you may need to purchase a replacement part. If you have the pin, make sure all the parts in lined up and placed correctly. Then you can adjust the linkage length to ensure that it is moving the drain stopper up and down.

Step 5: Replace the Drain Stopper Mechanism

Place the drain stopper mechanism back in the overflow tube, and then you can go ahead and replace the cover plate. Take a moment to test the level to ensure that you’ve adjusted the linkage assembly correctly. If it seems wrong, repeat the previous four steps again until you get it right.

Congratulations, your bathtub should now be retaining water, and you can celebrate with a relaxing soak. But, if this hasn’t fixed the problem or there is a different cause, it’s time to call your local professional plumber for help. They have the skills, experience, and tools to get your bathtub fixed quickly.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.