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How to Remove a Sink Stopper

By Luke Armstrong

Follow these steps on how to properly remove a sink stopper

While we all generally know that nothing else but water is supposed to go down the drain, other small objects and debris can slip down there on occasion. Thankfully, the sink stopper can prevent these things from falling down, but it can also get in the way when trying get the junk out of the drain.

But the sink stopper doesn’t always come out easily. You will have to disconnect a lever or two below the sink in order to pull it out freely. Check out the following steps on how exactly to remove a sink stopper.

How to Remove a Sink Stopper from the Drain

  1. Locate the pivot rod. When opening the cabinets underneath the sink, you will find the horizontal pivot rod that is attached to the drainpipe. The pivot rod is also connected to the drain lever that controls the sink stopper to plug up the sink.
  2. Place a bucket underneath the drain pipe. Before removing anything, make sure to place a bucket underneath the drain pipe as it may leak water before removing the nut in the next step.
  3. Remove the drainpipe nut. You probably won’t see it, but if you feel on the back of the drain pipe, you can find the nut that holds the pivot rod ball inside the pipe. You may have to use pliers to remove it.
  4. Remove the pivot ball. After removing the nut, you will see the ball come out of the drain pipe. The pivot rod is also attached to the ball, and at the other end, the sink stopper. Just pull the pivot rod from the drainpipe via the end connected to the pivot ball.
  5. Remove the sink stopper. After removing the pivot rod, you should easily be able to remove the sink stopper from the drain. Wah-lah, you can proceed to removing the junk from the drain.

The task of removing a sink stopper shouldn’t be too complicated, even for someone who doesn’t know the first thing about plumbing. But if you experience any problems along the way, such as the pipe leaking and you can’t shut it off, immediately turn off the main water shutoff switch. Most are located in the basement of the home.

To remove the pivot rod, unscrew the nut from the drain pipe

If there is significant damage under and/or around the sink, be sure to call a water damage restoration professional right away. If the damage isn’t addressed immediately, mold can develop in as little as 24 hours.

But as long as everything runs smoothly, and you are able to clean out the drain, you will have to reconnect everything below again. Here’s how to reconnect the sink stopper.

How to Reconnect the Sink Stopper

  1. Reinsert the sink stopper. Place the sink stopper back into the drain with the hole facing you. Try to position it between the end of the pivot rod and the inside of the drain tail pipe.
  2. Reconnect the pivot rod to the clevis. Below the sink, angle the end of the pivot rod up and connect it to the clevis, or the vertical rod with holes, to the pivot rod angled up.
  3. Reconnect the pivot rod to the drain stopper. Feed the pivot rod through the sink stopper’s hole in the drainpipe.
  4. Screw on the nut. With either your hand or pliers, reconnect the nut with the pivot ball in the drain pipe and the pivot rod still connected to the clevis. The pivot rod should still be able to move up and down freely without leaking water from the drain pipe when turning the water on. If you aren’t able to move the pivot rod, loosen the nut.
  5. Test the stopper. Pull the drain lever up and see if the stopper goes down. If not, the pivot rod isn’t properly inserted in the stopper’s hole below. You will have to disconnect and try again.

Additional Problems? Call a Plumber

For any water-related emergency, don’t hesitate to call ServiceMaster

If you are still unable to figure out the problem or just don’t want to mess with removing the stopper in the first place, consider using a drain snake. You can get them at your local hardware store for a cheap price and be able to remove the gunk without pulling out the stopper. You can also call a plumber to disconnect and reconnect the stopper for you.

Water Damage

You shouldn’t have to worry about any problems arising when disconnecting the stopper, but damaging the pipe can cause a huge problem when running the water afterwards. If you find any amount of water running beneath your sink, call a water damage cleanup specialist immediately.

ServiceMaster is one of the most well-known emergency water mitigation providers in the country. They respond within 2 hours and work efficiently and effectively to have the entire area restored. Their professionals are each trained, licensed, and experienced in both residential and commercial settings, allowing them to provide a professional, timely service. Don’t hesitate to give them a call in the event of any water-related emergency.