Saturday, October 20, 2012

Garden Tub Drain Basket Fix

The drain we're working on is pretty straightforward. Rather than messing with a tub shoe and linkage, the garden tub in your average trailer uses a rubber stopper to hold the water in. The chrome basket is pretty durable for the most part, but they won't hold up well to chemical drain cleaners. They'll corrode and fracture; eventually disintegrating and making a mess under the floor. The best time to replace these is before they completely fall apart and you can get a tool on them to screw them out. Unfortunately, by the time we get around to changing it out the insides are too brittle to be of much use. In this article, I'll give you a few ideas you might be able to use. As always, you have control over your work and you alone must decide what to do to fix this right. Take your time, as you can wreck some pretty expensive fixtures if you mess up. Being down one of anything when it comes to plumbing will not endear you to the rest of your family. I will not settle domestic disputes, so do this and all other repairs at your own risk.

My favorite method for getting the basket out is with a pair of pliers stuck into it. The idea is to snag them on anything that will hold the basket to screw it out. I tried this and managed one turn before what was left of the pieces inside broke off. Time for plan "b". Normally, I would get a Dremel and cut it out, but mine was dead on arrival. The next best thing is a metal cutting jigsaw blade to score along the inside of the basket, as well as a flat screwdriver and some painters tape. Take the painters tape and mask off around the drain basket. The idea is protect the finish of the tub. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to line the tub with an old blanket or some cardboard, but you knew that.

Take the screwdriver and CAREFULLY pry up around the basket flange until you can get a pair of pliers underneath. Go ahead and break off as much of that flange as you can , preferably all of it. You should be able to see where the basket threads into the tub shoe or plumbing. Once that's done, take your blade and score straight up and down where the flange is broken off. The idea is to cut through the basket until you reach the shoe, but don't cut through the shoe. I would cut and break this in three spots so you can break out one piece and than other two without damaging the tub or plumbing. You can pry between the basket and the plumbing to work this out without any trouble. If there's any doubt, score the basket a little more and try again. Eventually, you should be rewarded with the basket in several pieces and your tub and plumbing intact. This is a bit tricky to do, but if you take your time can be done relatively easily and inexpensively. It takes me about 30 minutes or so get it out with this method. Installing the new basket is pretty easy and just requires you seal the flange with plumbers putty, screwing it down carefully with the pliers or the appropriate tool. Roll the putty into a "snake" and around the underside of the flange. Tighten it snugly, but don't wreath on it. From now on, don't use any chemical drain cleaner and use a plumbers snake to remove the clogs. This will help insure your drain basket lasts for a couple decades or more. Even if the basket you install is plastic, chemical drain cleaners are NEVER a good idea. You can lose eyes, skin, clothing and the social graces these things afford. If you must, try vinegar and baking soda and then a plunger, graduating to the aforementioned snake. Better yet, try cleaning the screen each time you shower; problem solved. Maranatha! 

1 comment:

Walter Grace said...

You can use a power saw to score the basket, but I just use a blade and a handle to cut this out. It takes more finesse than force to get these out as they're made of brass or some other pot metal. Many of the newer ones are made of stainless steel or plastic.