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Bathtub Drain Basics

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If you’re like most folks, you don’t give much thought to your bathtub drain unless your tub is backed up or simply won’t hold water. But if you’ve ever wondered just how they work, or if you’d like to figure out what kind of bathtub drain you have for future reference, then read on.

Bathtub Drain Types

Rubber Stopper: It doesn’t get any simpler than this. A rubber stopper is placed over (or inserted into) the bathtub drain hole, plugging it so the tub can fill with water. To drain the tub, simply pull up the stopper.

Foot Lock: The stopper consists of a smooth metal or plastic cover lined with a ring of rubber, which is attached to the drain with just enough space beneath it to let the water out. To close the foot lock drain, you press down on the stopper with your foot. The stopper locks in place, sealing the drain so you can fill up your bathtub. Press it again, and the stopper pops up, allowing the tub to drain.

Roller Ball: The roller ball drain is similar to the foot lock drain, but has a small knob attached to the stopper. Rather than press the stopper with your foot, you grasp the knob with your fingers. Lifting up on the stopper opens the bathtub drain, while pressing down closes it.

Lift and Turn: Like the roller ball drain, the lift and turn drain has a stopper with a small knob on its cover. To open the drain, you lift the stopper and then twist it to lock it into place. To close it, simply twist it in the opposite direction to unlock it and let the stopper fall into place.

Pop-Up: The pop-up drain uses a trip lever to raise and lower the stopper. The lever is attached to a spring, which is attached to the rocker arm that opens or closes the drain. Push down on the lever, and the stopper closes. Pull up, and the stopper opens.

Plunger: A plunger drain works just like a pop-up drain, only there is no visible stopper. The trip lever opens and closes the bathtub drain by moving a hidden plunger.

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