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How to Fix A Sink Drain Stopper

A drain stopper that ceases to work is quite annoying. Either you can’t close the drain, or, worse yet, you can’t open it. Either way, chances are you can learn how to fix a sink drain stopper in a few minutes. The job gets a bit awkward because you need to work under the sink, usually inside a cabinet. If you have a pedestal sink, access is easier.

ToolsHow to Fix A Sink Drain Stopper

  • Screwdriver
  • Sharpie marker
  • Scrub brush
  • Bucket

Understand the Sink Drain Stopper Mechanism

As you know, you lift the rod to close the drain and push it down to open the drain. However, you may have never looked under the sink to see how the rod achieves this action. The vertical rod visible above the sink connects to a horizontal rod under the sink. It passes through a clip called a clevis that connects the two pieces. The horizontal rod can then shift the stopper up and down when you pull or push on the vertical rod.

How to Fix a Sink Drain Stopper

  1. Take out the items stored under your sink to make room for you to work.
  2. Inspect the connection between the vertical and horizontal rods at the clevis.
  3. If you can’t reach above the sink, ask a partner to lift and lower the rod while you watch it under the sink.
  4. This could reveal a loose connection that needs to be adjusted or tightened.
  5. If you don’t see anything amiss, start to disassemble the rods.
  6. With a screwdriver, loosen the nut holding the horizontal pivot rod.
  7. Slip the horizontal rod out of the drain pipe.
  8. With the clevis clip still in place, mark its current position on the rod.
  9. Loosen the clevis screw to remove it.
  10. Fill a small bucket with some all-purpose cleaner diluted with water.
  11. Scrub clean the horizontal pivot rod. Grime built up on it could be interfering with its ability to move the drain stopper.
  12. Return the pivot rod to the drain pipe.
  13. Make sure the rod has been hooked onto the drain stopper inside the pipe.
  14. Reconnect the clevis and vertical rod to the horizontal rod where you marked its original position. Tighten the screw.
  15. Secure the retaining nut on the pivot rod again.
  16. Test the action of the stopper by working the vertical rod up and down.
  17. If dissatisfied with how the drain closes, adjust the connection between the vertical and horizontal rod. Test different settings until you find a position that pulls the stopper tight into the drain.

Talk to a Professional Plumber

Although learning how to fix a sink drain stopper is relatively simple, it can get a little frustrating. Clogs inside the pipe could still be interfering with the stopper function. The stopper is usually plastic, and it might have cracked where the pivot rod hooks on. In that situation, you should install a new drain stopper entirely. At Oliver, we have an experienced team of licensed plumbers who can troubleshoot any plumbing issues. Contact us today with your plumbing questions.

Need help with this project?

If you do not have the time, tools, or experience necessary to complete the project, please contact the professionals at Oliver for help.

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