How To Repair A Tub Trip Lever

If the water level in your tub drops or drains slowly, you may need to repair the trip lever. A trip lever is the mechanism connected to the wall that opens and closes the drain stopper.

A trip lever drain can operate with a spring or stay hidden in the drain until you raise the lever. Both types are repaired the same way. Here are some tips to help you fix the trip lever in a tub drain.

Unscrew the Face Plate

Cover the drain opening to avoid losing parts an the tub to protect the finish. Use a screwdriver to remove the face plate from the overflow pipe and pull it off gently. The face plate is commonly located over the drain and under the spout.

If the face plate has the linkage and plunger attached, you should be able to remove them from the overflow tube easily. If the linkage has disconnected from the trip lever, remove it with a claw extension tool or wire hook. A worn plunger or broken linkage should be replaced.

Check the Overflow Gasket

The overflow gasket acts as a seal between the front of the tub and rear of the overflow pipe. If the overflow gasket is damaged, replace it. Take off the cover with a screwdriver. Scrape the remnants of the old gasket and caulking around the plate with a putty knife.

Center the new gasket on the overflow opening. You may have to push it gently into place on the overflow pipe for the right alignment. Reinsert the overflow plate securely until you feel the gasket move into place and caulk the edges.

Fix the Trip Lever

Pry the lever out and up to remove the linkage. If you don't see the spring or plug, it may have fallen off. Retrieve it with a magnetic retrieval tool or with a magnet attached to a string. Examine other connections on the linkage for missing parts like the U-shaped pin that joins the linkage to the handle.

Change the length of the linkage using the adjustment nut. The linkage should hang straight and be free of tangles. Reinsert the linkage in the overflow tube and re-install the cover plate. Test the lever again and keep readjusting until it works correctly.

If fixing the tub lever trip lever doesn't stop the problem, you may have a plumbing issue elsewhere in your system. A residential plumbing repair professional can help detect the issue.