You wouldn't think a bathtub overflow drain would be the source of a water leak, espe- cially if you never fill the tub to a level at which water would enter the opening. You, like me, could be very wrong. It didn't make sense to me that the overflow drain got enough water exposure to be the source of a leak which was ruin- ing a drywall ceiling downstairs. Convinced of this, I replaced a couple of faucet valves, tightened some threaded connections, and sealed a couple different drain connections with silicone tape, yet I still had a leak. I eventually opened up the the ceiling and the wall behind the faucet to investigate. Most frustrating of all: I could not reproduce the leak when I took a shower. Nor did we have prob- lems when my kids took a bath. The tub only leaked when my wife took a shower in it. Finally, as she was showering, I inspected the plumbing from the floor below and followed the active leak all the way up to the overflow drain. Turns out the drain had a leaky gasket. Something about the manner in which my wife showers—whether it’s the way she shampoos her hair or maybe shaves her legs—directs water onto the overflow drain, and consequently past the deteriorated gasket. I only mention this to demonstrate that plumbing leaks
can happen in some seemingly unlikely places, and locating the problem can be half the battle.
REPLACING THE GASKET The good news is that replacing an overflow drain gasket is a fairly easy fix. The first step is to remove the screws that mount the cover plate.
Pull out the assembly, including the drain plug.
Shown here is the old deterio- rated gasket that must be removed.
DO IT YOURSELF
Fix a Leaking Overflow Drain A simple leaky gasket can cause a big problem.
By Matt Weber