To fix a tub that doesn't drain properly, first identify what type of drain you have. If the drain hole of your tub is open or covered by a coarse screen, you have a plunger-type stopper. Plunger-type drains are a bit complex as far as household drains go. They have moving mechanical parts that sometimes need to be cleaned and adjusted so that the tub drains properly. You'll need to take these parts out, clean them, perform a few minor adjustments, then put it all back together. Jump right in – it's not too difficult.
You can clean a tub drain in less than one hour.
Remove the screws on the overflow cover plate, and carefully pull the cover plate, the linkage and the plunger from the overflow drain opening. Don't drop the screws down the drain!
You can clean the linkage and plunger with a small wire brush dipped in vinegar. Lubricate the assembly with a little heatproof grease.
Plunger-type drains leak when they get out of adjustment. To fix them, adjust the linkage by unscrewing the locknut on the threaded lift rod using needlenose pliers. Screw the rod down about 1/8 inch. Then tighten the locknut, and reinstall the whole works.
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