The bathroom sink stopper is a handy little gadget, allowing you to fill the basin with water to help with shaving or washing your face. However, like most household systems, the stopper isn't perfect and it can become maladjusted over time, causing the sink to drain instead of holding the water for you. Fortunately, the sink stopper is a perfect candidate for a little DIY drain plumbing. With the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can have your stopper sealing the drain again in no time.
Why Good Stoppers Go Bad
There are two reasons why most stopper malfuctions occur – either it's out of alignment, or it's clogged with hair and gunk. You can address both problems in the same repair. Best of all, you don't need to buy a new toolkit. For most sink setups, all you need to fix a problem with the stopper is a pair of adjustable pliers and a cleaning brush.
All you have to do is crawl under the sink and look for the nut that sticks out of the back of the drain plumbing. A rod comes out of the nut and is connected to a bar that leads up toward the faucet handle. Use the pliers to loosen the nut and remove the rod from the pipe, which will allow you to pull the stopper out of the sink entirely.
Cleaning and Adjustment
This is your opportunity to clean off years of accumulated goo and hair from the stopper. Use the brush and give it a thorough scrubbing. That alone might be enough to fix the problem and allow the stopper to move up and down normally while providing a tight seal. You should also use the brush to clean out goo and biofilm from the inside of your drain plumbing while you have it open.
Then, when you put the stopper back together, you simply adjust it to your liking. Place the stopper back down in the drain, then run the rod through the pipe and the hole in the bottom of the stopper. You can then manually unclip the rod from the flat bar that leads to the faucet handle and reattach it at a point that pulls the stopper down to make a tight seal in the drain. Finally, when everything is where you want it, tighten the nut.
The Final Touches
That's all there is to it. Move the handle on the faucet up and down and make sure the stopper responds to your liking. If not, give it another adjustment. Run some water down the sink and take a look underneath to make sure you tightened the nut properly and didn't create a leak.
Sometimes, no matter how many times you readjust the stopper, you can't get it to function just right. If you are still having trouble keeping water in your sink, have a qualified plumber fine-tune your drain plumbing and get you back in business.