Bathtub drain lever

QUESTION: My bathtub drain lever has become difficult to operate. What must I do to get at the linkage to find why this has happened? I can close the drain and open it, but it is much harder to do.
Joseph St. Laurent
ANSWER: “The most common drain lever, hopefully the same kind that you have, connects to a brass rod that connects to a coil or barrel inside a hidden pipe behind the tub,” says Vince McDonald of McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Sacramento. “This assembly, commonly called a ‘waste and overflow,’ connects the drain on the bottom with the overflow. Over time the lever portion gets worn and is difficult to remove.”
“My suggestion is to remove the ‘innards’ of the waste and overflow, inspect it and possibly replace at least the top lever and plate assembly,” he says. “You can find these parts at most home improvement or plumbing supply stores. They are easily removed; just take your screwdriver and remove the two screws that secure the overflow plate and pull the assembly out. When you replace the assembly with a new one, make sure to adjust the length of the brass rod so that the overall length is the same as the old one.”

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