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How to Replace a Trip-Lever Bathtub Drain

How to Replace a Trip-Lever Bathtub Drain. A trip-lever drain has a lever attached to the tub wall that controls the opening and closing of the drain. Fortunately, trip-lever drains are easy for novices to replace and can be done fairly quickly with a few common tools.

If your tub isn't holding water or is having trouble draining, it might be time to replace the drain.

  1. Place a towel over the drain so small parts won't be lost while you're working and to reduce the chance of damaging the tub surface if you drop something.

  2. Remove the screws holding the overflow cover on the tub and put the cover aside. Pull the lever assembly out of the opening. You'll get several pieces, including the striker rod and the plug.

  3. Assemble the new trip-lever drain according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're unsure of which trip-lever to install, a home improvement store employee can guide you to the correct product.

  4. Insert the plug system you put together through the overflow opening. You may need to wiggle the linkage to get the plug to drop down onto the drain.

  5. Take away the towel carefully, making sure not to lose any parts down the drain, and set it aside.

  6. Fill the tub with water to see if the plug is tight enough on the drain to adequately hold water. If the plug lets water down the drain, remove the plug system and loosen the nuts on either side of the plug. Loosening the nuts lengthens the system so the plug can go lower onto the drain. Small adjustments are better than large adjustments, so loosen the nuts a turn or two.

  7. Replace the overflow cover once the plug makes a good seal on the drain. Remember to clean your trip-lever system if the tub drains slowly in the future. Grime and hair get stuck on the plug. Remove the debris so water flows more freely. If the plug is too corroded to clean, you can replace the plug system again.