Tub Overflow – What You Need to Know

Arguably the most dreaded aspect of being a homeowner is having to deal with plumbing repairs all by yourself. After all, there is some truth behind this restraint. While troubleshooting the pipes and fixtures around your house is possible, it requires a certain level of understanding of the concept in its entirety.

The truth about plumbing is that it is an intricate domain due to the numerous parts that sustain the smooth functioning of the entire system. The tub overflow drain is one such mechanism that performs a vital role but is often ignored in home inspections. In fact, most homeowners don’t even realize what it’s for when they look at it. Here is what you need to know.


What Is a Tub Overflow?

The tub overflow is an essential drain fitting located behind and under a bathtub that impedes the water level from getting too high. It is usually located directly above the drain and near the top of the tub. It is easily recognizable due to its chrome-plated cover. The hardware on older baths looks a bit more outdated than this, but it serves the same purpose.

tub overflow

Simply put, the overflow mechanism is the reason why bathtubs don’t fill up to the brim with water and leak all over the floor. Thus, if you leave the tap running for too long, or get in and some of the volume gets displaced, you won’t have to deal with any accidents. Although the system behind it is rather intricate, you can install it and repair it by yourself.

Installing One Properly

If your bathroom is a couple of decades old, then chances are that your tub has a spout rather than a handy overflow. Fortunately, you can easily replace the antiquated part with a new and more efficient fitting. Keep in mind that you will need the assistance of a friend. To kickstart the process, you first must turn off the water supply of the bathtub to avoid any mishaps.

tub overflow

Then, unscrew the timeworn spout from the rear space using a basin wrench. It should ideally pop right off. With a reciprocating saw, remove the line of the drain shoe, then unscrew the actual shoe by hand. Plumber’s putty should then be added to the toe-touch. After you’ve finished doing these preliminary steps, it’s time for your friend to come in and help.

The need to hold the shoe on the outside so that you can tighten the toe-touch properly into it. Utilize an open-end wrench for this. Then, have them place the back of the overflow and a gasket in the tub’s upper hole while you tighten it using the nut provided by the kit. Go to the bathtub side and put the cover on. Now that you’re done, enjoy your modern bath.

How to Troubleshoot

A faulty overflow tube is the number one cause behind a leaky bathtub. If you encounter this problem in your household, it is important to take care of it as soon as possible so that you avoid any further complications down the line. The difficulty level of the operation is moderate, so you don’t have to worry about calling in a plumber.

tub overflow

The tools to keep on hand are kit staples. You will require a screwdriver, a utility knife, a replacement gasket for the overflow tube, and a tub and tile caulk. If you don’t possess one or more of these items, they are widely available in hardware stores, regardless of your geographical location.

After gathering the necessities, it’s time to check for the source of the leak. Run the water into the tub to check for faulty pipes, then turn your attention towards the shower head to check for valve malfunctions. If neither of these is the case, then it means that the overflow gasket needs to be replaced.

tub overflow

To perform this repair, simply unscrew the overflow plate. If necessary, cut the caulking around it as well. If the gasket looks damaged or worn, it’s time to put a new one in. Use the knowledge you gained while installing it to take the old one out. If you didn’t install the gasket by yourself in the first place, consult the section above for tips.

Final Thoughts

The tub overflow mechanism is crucial if you want your bathroom to function as smoothly as possible. it prevents leaks and other accidents, which means that you need to install one right away if your bath doesn’t come equipped with it already. And if it gets damaged, always remember that swift action saves you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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