3 quick fixes for the shower and bathtub

July 28, 2015

Having problems with your shower or tub? Here are three quick fixes to get them back up to par.

3 quick fixes for the shower and bathtub

1. Fixing a clogged shower drain

  • Hair and soap scum lurking underneath a shower drain's strainer cover are the likely suspects when a shower gets clogged or drains too slowly. Usually, a quick cleaning or a bit of plunging is all it takes to get your tub or shower back in shape.
  • First, check the strainer cover itself: If gunk is visible in its openings, try cleaning them out manually. Run the water and see if that did the trick.
  • If water still isn't draining properly, remove the strainer cover. Some types snap into place and can be lifted out with a screwdriver; others are held in place by screws. With the cover off, shine a flashlight into the drain and see if you can spot the clog. If you can, try fishing it out with a hooked length of coat-hanger wire, taking care not to push the clog farther down the drain.
  • Still no luck? It's time to pull out the plunger. If that doesn't work, call a plumber.

2. Fixing a clogged showerhead

  • A buildup of lime and mineral scale in a showerhead can reduce the shower stream to a trickle. To restore the flow, pour white vinegar into a plastic sandwich bag and pull it up over the showerhead, making sure that the entire head is immersed in the vinegar.
  • Secure the bag to the shower arm with duct tape and leave it on overnight. (Note: Vinegar can discolour some brass and other finishes.)

3. Adjusting the stopper in a bathtub

  • In some tubs, both the stopper and the lift assembly are inside the overflow tube. The control lever on the overflow plate raises and lowers the plunger by way of a threaded lift rod.
  • To service and adjust the lift assembly, unscrew the overflow plate and pull out the assembly. Loosen the adjusting locknut on the lift rod, and raise the rod for better drainage or lower it for a better seal.
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