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Fixing Tricky Pop-Up Drain Sink Stopper Mechanisms

Bathroom sink faucets 101

pop-up-sink-drain-repair-replacement-bathroomPop-up drain stoppers in bathroom sinks are a convenient inventions, says the Littleton plumber expert, but fixing them requires you to crawl around under and behind the sink – tough duty if your bathroom sink is mounted in a vanity cabinet.  You will have to unload everything you have stored under the sink (be careful to put any toxic items out of the reach of children or pets), and use a flashlight to take a good look at what you are working on.

How pop-up drains work

The mechanics of a pop-up drain stopper are really pretty simple; the handle of the lift rod sits on top of the sink between the faucets and (usually) behind the spout,  When the handle is raised, the pop-up drain closes; when the handle is pushed down, the drain opens.

Underneath the sink, the lift rod attaches to a perforated metal bar called the clevis by means of a clevis screw, which is loosened or tightened by hand or by screwdriver.

Also attached to the clevis with a spring clip is a pivot rod, which passes through a retaining nut into the drain.  Beyond the retaining nut, the rod also passes through a pivot ball, a plastic gasket, and a washer.  It then passes through a small loop in the tail end of the pop-up stopper.  So – the lift rod connects to the clevis, which connects to the pivot rod, which connects to the pip=up stopper.  Got it?

Adjusting the pop-up stopper mechanism

If the pop-up stopper doesn’t sit tight in the drain when you raise the lift rod:

*Loosen the clevis screw (with your fingers, a screwdriver, or an adjustable wrench, depending on the type of screw);

*Push the stopper down by hand to close the drain;

*Tighten the clevis screw.  Once  you make this adjustment, the stopper should close snugly.

If the pop-up stopper doesn’t stay open when you push down the lift rod:

*Squeeze the spring clip and release the pivot rod from the clevis;

*Move the pivot rod to the next hole up on the clevis, holding it in place with the spring clip.

If you need to remove the pop-up stopper to clean out the drain, or for any other reason (you will need an adjustable wrench or slip jointed pliers with taped jaws to perform this repair):

*Loosen the retaining nut with the wrench and pull back the pivot rod, which will disengage the rod from the stopper.  If you remove any parts fro the pivot rod, be sure to replace them in the right order;

Bathroom Faucet Preventive Maintenance:  Bathroom drains get gunky with all of the hair and grooming products that slide down into the pipes.  To prevent clogs, and prevent the need to go through the acrobatics of working under the sink to remove the pop-up stopper, do the following preventive maintenance:

1.  Keep the stopper closed when you are using grooming aids, and wipe out the basin before you let the water run;

2.  Once a month, run very hot (or a pot of boiling) water down each of your bathroom drains; this will help keep them flowing.

REMEMBER THIS:  Pop-up bathroom sink stoppers are controlled from behind and underneath the sink.  You will need a flashlight and some physical agility to squeeze in for the repair!

*Once the rod is disengaged from the stopper, you can lift it right out.

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