Repairing A Bathroom Sink That No Longer Holds Water

You fill the bathroom sink with water to shave or clean up, but find yourself turning on the water frequently to keep the sink full. The pop-up stopper is likely the cause. A cracked stopper or bad seal allow water to leak out of the sink. This is a simple DIY project that you can do in about an hour with some household tools. Fix that drain now with the following instructions.

What You'll Need for This Project

  • Channel lock pliers
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Old rags for cleanup

From the plumbing supplies store:

  • A replacement pop-up stopper - You'll have a choice of metal or plastic, which work equally well. Make sure the stopper comes with a rubber gasket to seal around the drain.

Replacing the Stopper

  1. Clear out the space under the sink so you have room to work on the drain.
  2. Follow the long rod that runs from above the sink to below it that you use to open and close the stopper. This rod attaches to a flat plate (clevis) under the sink. At the other end of the plate, a horizontal rod (pivot rod) is connected with a spring or clip. Remove this clip and slide the plate off of the pivot rod.
  3. Follow the pivot rod into a small ball that sits in the vertical drain pipe extending down from the sink.
  4. Loosen the large nut that is holding the ball in the drain pipe.
  5. Slide the ball and pivot rod out of the drain pipe. Notice a short rod coming out of the ball and extending into the drain pipe. This connects with the end of the pop-up stopper and pushes it up and down by pivoting with the ball.
  6. Pull the stopper up out of the drain.
  7. Pull any hair and other debris that you can reach out of the drain pipe. Where the stopper connects with the pivot rod is often where drain clogs begin.
  8. Check that the rubber seal on the new stopper is pushed up against the bottom of the cap. Also make note of the hole or slot at the lower end of the stopper.
  9. Insert the stopper into the drain from inside of the sink.
  10. While looking into the hole where the pivot ball sits, turn the stopper until you can see the hole at the bottom of the stopper.
  11. Place the short end of the pivot rod into the drain making sure the end of the rod goes through the hole at the end of the stopper.
  12. Seat the pivot ball into the drain pipe and secure with the large nut. Hand-tighten the nut.
  13. Push the pivot rod up and down to move the pivot ball and stopper. If it is too stiff to move, loosen the nut slightly.
  14. Slide the clip on the clevis onto the pivot rod and secure it in place.
  15. Try the push rod to open and close the drain. Adjust the push rod and pivot rod on the clevis to make it easier to push the pop-up stopper up and down.

For more information, or if this doesn't fix the problem, contact a plumbing company like Central Plumbing Specialties.