Tubs & Showers

Return to Step by Step Listings

As with bathroom sinks, tub and shower drain pipes may become clogged with soap and hair. The drain stopping mechanisms can also require cleaning and adjustment.

 

Difficulty Level:
Time to Complete:
Estimated Cost:
Continue to Step 1

Overview

Tub or shower not draining? First, make sure it’s only the tub or shower. If your sink is plugged, too, it may be a coincidence or it may be that a common branch line is plugged. A sure sign of this is when water drains from the sink into the tub. This could require the help of a drain cleaning service, or a drum trap that services both the sink and tub needs cleaning.
If the toilet also can’t flush (or worse, water comes into the tub when you flush the toilet), then the common drain to all your bathroom fixtures is plugged. Call a drain cleaning service. If you suspect the problem is only with your tub or shower, then read on. We’ll show you how to clear drain lines and clean and adjust two types of tub stopper mechanisms. Adjusting the mechanism can also help with the opposite problem: a tub that drains when you’re trying to take a bath.
As with bathroom sinks, tub and shower drain pipes may become clogged with soap and hair. The drain stopping mechanisms can also require cleaning and adjustment.
From: The Complete Guide to Plumbing, 978-1-58923-378-2

What You'll Need

Tools:

Phillips Screwdriver
Plunger
Scrub brush
White Vinegar
Toothbrush
Needlenose pliers
Dishwashing brush
Heatproof grease

Materials:

Phillips Screwdriver
Plunger
Scrub brush
White Vinegar
Toothbrush
Needlenose pliers
Dishwashing brush
Heatproof grease

 

Step 1

Maintenance Tip

Like bathroom sinks, tubs and showers face an ongoing onslaught from soap and hair. When paired, this pesky combination is a sure-fire source of clogs. The soap scum coagulates as it is washed down the drain and binds the hair together in a mass that grows larger with every shower or bath. To nip these clogs in the bud, simply pour boiling hot clean water down the drain from time to time to melt the soapy mass and wash the binder away.


Step 2

Using Hand Augers

On shower drains, feed the head of the auger in through the drain opening after removing the strainer. Crank the handle of the auger to extend the cable and the auger head down into the trap and, if the clog is farther downline, toward the branch drain. When clearing any drain, it is always better to retrieve the clog than to push it farther downline.


Step 3

Using Hand Augers

On combination tub/showers, it’s generally easiest to insert the auger through the overflow opening after removing the coverplate and lifting out the drain linkage. Crank the handle of the auger to extend the cable and the auger head down into the trap and, if the clog is farther downline, toward the branch drain. When clearing any drain, it is always better to retrieve the clog than to push it farther downline.


Step 4

How to Fix a Plunger-Type Drain

A plunger-type tub drain has a simple grate over the drain opening and a behind-the-scenes plunger stopper. Remove the screws on the overflow coverplate with a slotted or Phillips screwdriver. Pull the coverplate, linkage, and plunger from the overflow opening.


Step 5

How to Fix a Plunger-Type Drain

Clean hair and soap off the plunger with a scrub brush. Mineral buildup is best tackled with white vinegar and a toothbrush or a small wire brush.


Step 6

How to Fix a Plunger-Type Drain

Adjust the plunger. If your tub isn’t holding water with the plunger down, it’s possible the plunger is hanging too high to fully block water from the tub shoe. Loosen the locknut with needlenose pliers, then screw the rod down about 1⁄8". Tighten the locknut down. If your tub drains poorly, the plunger may be set too low. Loosen the locknut and screw the rod in an 1⁄8" before retightening the locknut.


Step 7

How to Fix a Pop-up Drain

Raise the trip lever to the open position. Pull the stopper and rocker arm assembly from the drain. Clean off soap and hair with a dishwashing brush in a basin of hot water. Clean off mineral deposits with a toothbrush or small wire brush and white vinegar.


Step 8

How to Fix a Pop-up Drain

Remove the screws from the cover plate. Pull the trip lever and the linkage from the overflow opening. Clean off soap and hair with a brush in a basin of hot water. Remove mineral buildup with white vinegar and a wire brush. Lubricate moving parts of the linkage and rocker arm mechanism with heatproof grease.


Step 9

How to Fix a Pop-up Drain

Adjust the pop-up stopper mechanism by first loosening the locknut on the lift rod. If the stopper doesn’t close all the way, shorten the linkage by screwing the rod 1⁄8" farther into the linkage‑adjusting bracket. If the stopper doesn’t open wide enough, extend the linkage by unscrewing the rod 1⁄8". Tighten the locknut before replacing the mechanism and testing your adjustment.


 
 

Comments

Before you can comment, please Sign Up or Log In

© Copyright 2014, BLACK+DECKER Inc. All rights reserved. "BLACK & DECKER","BLACK+DECKER", and the BLACK & DECKER and BLACK+DECKER logos and product names are either registered trade marks or trade marks of "The Black & Decker Corporation"

Forgot Password?

x