Trip Lever Tub Drain That Won’t Stay Open: (Fix It Now!)

Trip Lever Tub Drain Won't Stay Open

Relaxing your body and mind is one of the several ways to relieve yourself after a stressful day. The best way to achieve this is by taking a relaxing bath in your bathtub.

A relaxing bath helps relieve you from stress and helps get you ready for the other hustle and bustle of the following day.

But, taking a bath can become frustrating if your trip lever tub drain is not functioning correctly. If water won’t stay in your tub or won’t drain properly, then it means that the trip lever is faulty.

If your trip lever tub drain doesn’t stay open, you need to fix it as soon as possible. Fixing a faulty trip lever is very easy, and this article will guide you on how to do it.

What is the work of a Trip Lever?

Before we start explaining how to fix a faulty trip lever, we need to explain the function of a Trip Lever.

The trip lever is located behind the tub wall. Its major work is to control the tub drain stopper. If it gets stuck, water won’t stay in your tub or won’t drain properly.

A metal plate hides the trip lever, and you can only operate it through a toggle switch.

How Do You Notice and Repair A Faulty Trip Lever?

Since the trip lever is not visible, the only way to control it is by using the toggle switch.

You can quickly notice that your trip lever is faulty if the toggle switch won’t go down or go up or if it feels loose.

To see and repair a faulty trip lever, you will have to remove the metal plate. After removing the metal plate, then you will be able to access and repair it.

What Do You Need To Know Before Fixing A Faulty Trip Lever?

One important thing you need to know before fixing any trip lever tub drain that won’t stay open is that there are two types of drain stoppers operated with trip levers.

The two types of drain stoppers that are operated using a trip lever are:

  • Lift-Bucket drain stoppers
  • Pop-Up drain stoppers

What Are The Differences Between Lift-Bucket Drain Stoppers And Pop-Up Drain Stoppers?

Lift-Bucket Drain StoppersPop-Up Drain Stoppers
It uses a linkageIt uses a horizontal rocker arm
It doesn’t have a top-up stopperIt has a top-up stopper
The plunger seals the drainThe stopper seals the drain


One significant similarity between these two drain stoppers is that they are both operated using a trip lever.

What are the possible causes of a faulty trip lever in a Lift-bucket drain stopper?

Some of the things that will not allow your trip lever to function correctly are:

A Faulty Plunger

This is one of the several reasons why your trip lever tub drain won’t stay open. There are times that the overflow tube may hook the plunger and won’t allow it to move freely. In a situation like this, the plunger will not be able to move up or down correctly.

Ill-Adjusted Vertical Rod

An ill-adjusted vertical rod is another reason why the trip lever will not function properly. If the vertical rod is slightly shifted from its proper position, the plunger will not allow the tub drain to function correctly.

What Are the Possible Causes of a Faulty Trip Lever in A Pop-Up Drain Stopper?

The trip lever in a Pop-Up drain stopper may not function properly if the horizontal rocker arm (connecting rod) is shortened or has bent. When this happens, you will start noticing that the drain stopper won’t stay open. Instead, the drain stopper will always remain closed.

How Do You Troubleshoot and Fix A Trip Lever That Is Not Functioning Correctly?

Once you have noticed that your trip lever tub drain won’t stay open, the next thing you need to do is to investigate the problem. You can hire a plumber to help you troubleshoot it, or you can do the troubleshooting by yourself.

Troubleshooting the faulty trip lever is very easy, and this article will guide you on how to carry out this process.

Materials needed for troubleshooting are:

  • Screwdriver
  • CLR
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Small scrub brush

Steps To Follow When Troubleshooting And Fixing your Faulty Trip Lever:

1. Unscrew the cover plate

Since the trip lever is not visible, you will need to expose it to investigate the problem carefully. To do this, you will have to unscrew the cover plate that is hiding the trip lever.

2. Remove the Plate and Carefully Investigate the Problem

The next thing you need to do after you unscrew the cover plate is to remove it. After removing it, you will examine if the system is well connected.

3. Use the CLR for Cleaning.

Sometimes, you may not be able to examine the system because of dirt and grime. In a situation like this, you can use the CLR to clean the rust and calcium buildup.

If the link system connection is still intact, but the mechanism is very dirty. All you need to do to fix the issue is clean the mechanism with the CLR and a small scrub brush.

4. Make Necessary Adjustments

Sometimes, all you need to fix a trip lever tub drain that won’t stay open is to make necessary adjustments.

Some of the adjustments that you may need to make are:

5. Lift-Bucket Drain Stoppers

  • Adjusting the linkage and plunger
  • Lengthen the vertical rod

6. Top-Up Drain Stoppers

  • Adjust the horizontal connecting rod
  • Replace the damaged trip lever

When you examine the link system and find out that it is damaged, the next thing you need to do is replace it. OR, if the problem persists after making the necessary adjustment, you must replace the trip lever.

Replacing a Damaged Trip Lever Tub Drain Stopper

Replacing a damaged trip lever tub drain can be very tricky and very difficult. If you don’t have the skill and confidence to handle it, you can quickly call a professional plumber to fix it for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Why trip lever tub drain won’t stay open?

A lot of reasons may cause this, and some of them include dirt, calcium,

  • What will you do to a damaged trip lever drain stopper?

The best thing you need to do is to replace it. Cleaning or repairing it will not fix the problem.


Troubleshooting and fixing a trip lever drain stopper are straightforward if you have the right tools and guidance to carry out the operation.

This article is highly recommended for those that want to troubleshoot and fix a trip lever that is not functioning correctly by itself. The first thing you need to do if you want to fix it yourself is to get the right tools, equipment & materials.

This article contains the list of tools, equipment, & materials you will need to get and every other thing you need to do if your trip lever tub drain won’t stay open.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *