If you notice water stains on the floor around your tub or ceiling on the lower level, it is likely coming from a leaky tub overflow drain. The overflow drain is situated behind the cover located right over your tub drain and under the faucet. It removes excess water in case someone leaves the water running or fills the tub too high.
Water leaves your house in two ways: through the overflow pipe and main waste drain. A leaky overflow drain can damage plaster and carpeting. Here are some tips to fix a tub overflow drain.
Shut Off Water
Before you make plumbing repairs, shut off water to the tub. There should be an access panel on the wall near the tub or in the basement. If you can't find the panel, turn off the main house water which is near your water meter. Turn off the valve and run the tub faucet to drain the excess water from the pipes.
Inspect the Overflow Gasket
The rubber gasket behind the overflow plate drain will crack with time, which causes the water to seep into where the overflow pipe connects with the gasket. Remove the cover plate, which is usually held in place by screws, with a screwdriver and scrape any excess caulking.
If the gasket looks brittle, remove it with your fingers or a utility knife, scraping off excess caulking, and replace it with a new one. You may have to push the pipe slightly to get the gasket in place. Reinstall the face plate, turn the water back on, and fill the tub to test for leaks.
Fix the Leaky Overflow Drain Pipe
If a new gasket doesn't stop the leak, you will have to remove the pipe. Remove the face plate as before and look for small a sphere that has three or four bolts. Remove these bolts by placing screwdriver between the pipe and tub. Detach the bottom of the pipe using a wrench and wiggling it if needed to remove it.
Next, access any damage on the pipe and clean out any debris. Repair small leaks by using a welding iron and add layers of electrical tape until the hole is solid. A heavily damaged pipe will need replacing.
Reinsert the pipe to the tub, making sure the connections are tight, and apply caulking on the joins to secure. Loose connections are another cause of leaks. Turn on the water and fill the tub to test for leaks.
Sometimes, simple repairs are all that it takes to fix a leaky tub overflow drain. If your repairs failed to stop the leak, it is suggested that you call a plumber.