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Bathtub Drain System 2020 Guide

by Badeloft | March 29, 2020

Owning a bathtub also means being prepared for drain problems to surface. Although it may seem frustrating or aggravating to deal with, familiarizing yourself with your drain system can help to ease your frustrations and allow you to diagnose problems much easier and save you from future headaches.

What is a bathtub drain system

A bathtub drain system is a system that allows for water to drain from your shower back into the water system. The system is designed in such a way that water drains through the shower, but is released at a controlled rate as to not overflow the pipe or run the risk of damaging the internal pipeline. This is accomplished through a tier system that controls the level of water throughout the drain system, ensuring that the water level is always at a controllable quantity.

bathtub drain system

What are the components of a drain system 

Your drain system may seem complicated at first, but given time and a little experience, it can be quite easy to diagnose problems should they occur.

Here are the main components of a drain system to better help you fix problems that may arise. 

  • Trip lever: A trip level essentially allows water in and out of the bathtub. When activated, the trip lever either prevents water from entering, or allows water to pass through, based on whether or not the life bucket is pulled up or down. 
  • Overflow: The overflow drain is a feature that prevents your bathtub from overflowing by acting as a secondary drain for water to flow into. The primary drain is located at the bottom of the basin whereas the overflow is located along the side wall of the basin, gathering any excess water. 
  • Linkage: Linkage is what connects the trip-lever drain stopper to the overflow bucket or drain stopper, allowing water to move in and out. 
  • Threads: Threads are the connecting screw that ties your drain to the whole system. On the most annoying functions of repairing your drain is replacing the thread as the sizes for it can vary widely.
  • Eye knuckles: The eye knuckles comprise a set of interlocking hooks that tie the drain stopper to the linkage that leads to the trip lever. 
  • Overflow pipe: The overflow pipe is where the overflow drain filters into, collecting excess water to prevent overflow. This is important for managing water levels, in order to prevent flooding.
  • Stopper: The stopper prevents water from flowing in and out of the bathtub when it is engaged. This is done by engaging or disengaging the trip lever which controls the stopper. 
  • Drain flange: The drain flange is a metal plate that separates your bathtub from your drain. In addition to functioning as a support base for your drain, the drain flange also acts as a barrier between the dirt and grime that could exist in your drain system and prevents it from entering your tub and interfering with your bathing experience. 
  • Drain elbow: A drain elbow is a pipe that is built at an angle, specifically an elbow, to slow the flow of water. A drain elbow usually connects the strainer to the rest of the plumbing system. 
  • Waste Tee: A waste tee is another pipe design, further down that pushes water out from the system. It is shaped like a tee to allow water to flow out in two different directions, usually separating waste water from usable water. 
  • Gasket: A gasket is a mechanical seal which fills the space between two surfaces, in this case, the gasket protects the drain elbow on the tub, forming a protective seal that prevents leaking into other areas of the drain system. 
  • Grate: A grate or drain cover is a large cover with holes in it or a grating that covers your water drain. It allows drainage but also prevents larger objects to enter into the drain as well. 
  • Main Drain line: The main drain line is the primary line that carries all the waste water from your home to the municipal sewer line. This is usually 4 inches in diameter and is usually made from either ABS, PVC plastic, clay or cast iron. It is usually visible from the foundation slab of your home


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