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27th January 2009
Corrosion and clogging can cause you to need to repair or install a new bath tub drain in your bathroom. Depending on the type of tub drain you have, this project can be fairly simple and inexpensive; you will most likely be able to complete it yourself without having to hire a professional.
Before beginning any bathtub drain plumbing project, you will need to determine which bath drain is already installed. The distinguishing feature for a bathtub drain is whether or not it has a trip lever. A trip lever is the sealing mechanism that stops up water and is located above the actual drain.
Roller Ball, Lift and Turn, and Foot Lock Drains
These drains do not have trip levers. Instead, it is the drain itself that is maneuvered into a sealing position in order to stop water. For example, the lift and turn drain will stop water only when you manually “lift and turn” the drain itself. Roller ball and foot lock drains are sealed by pushing down on the drain.
Plunger and Pop Up Drains
In addition to the drain opening at the bottom of the tub, these drains also include a trip lever, usually located half way up the front end of the tub just below the faucet. While trip levers usually look and function the same way, the two drains are different. Pop up drains have a circular metal piece that pops up and down depending on how the trip lever has been situated. Plunger drains have no visible stopper; the drain is covered with a grating and the sealing mechanism is hidden beneath it.
Install Bathtub Drain
Whichever drain you have, bathtub drain installation should not take more than approximately three hours to complete. It will require the necessary drain parts as well as some common household tools, such as a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.
Installing Trip Lever Drains
Any drain you purchase will usually come with the necessary parts and pieces. Trip lever drains will not only come with the stopper, but the trip lever mount as well. Another item you may need to purchase is plumber’s putty, which will help with the water tight seal. Both the drain and trip lever will need to be screwed into the tub and sealed with plumber’s putty.
Before installing the actual drain, you will need to install the trip lever. This can be done with screws and putty, but you will need to make sure that you attach the lifter rod to the actual drain base before sealing the trip lever port. You can then fit the drain into the drain hole and seal.
Installing non-Trip Lever Drains
These drains will also most likely come with the screws and pieces that are necessary for installing bathtub drains. You will also need plumbers putty for the seal.
Fit the drain into the hole in the tub that leads to the piping. Most drains are standard sized to fit most piping, but you may want to take measurements of the piping and drain hole before purchasing a drain. If you have an outdated tub or plumbing system, you may need to modify the pipes or drain hole.
Seal the drain with plumbing putty, making sure that the putty seals all openings. If there is a need to screw the drain into the tub, do so. You may have to insert washers or nuts as well.
Repair Bathtub Drain
After installing bathtub drain, you will eventually need to repair it. Clogging can lead to your having to repair the drain. Like installation, this is a job you can do yourself. Basic household tools will be needed to remove the drain, as well as cleaning solution such as vinegar or baking soda, and a brush.
Unclog Bathtub Drain
A clogged bathtub drain can be caused by dirt and grime accumulating on the walls of the pipe. Drain solutions are available at stores for purchase that gradually dissolve the material, but you can get a more thorough clean by simply removing the drain and cleaning the pipe yourself.
Unscrew any screws that are sealing the drain to the drain hole and remove. This will expose the pipe beneath. Pour a cleaning solution into the hole with one hand while you hold the brush and scrub with the other.
Keep in mind that severe clogs located far into the pipe may require a longer, more expensive brush or more expensive solution.