How Does a Foot Lock Bathtub Drain Work?

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Though drain stopper systems are commonly referred to as drains, a drain is actually a pipe.
Though drain stopper systems are commonly referred to as drains, a drain is actually a pipe. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

There are many types of bathtub drain stoppers on the market. From those with interconnected mechanical systems to those that require little more than a touch to change position, drain stoppers work in myriad ways. Understanding how a specific type of drain stopper works can help you decide whether it suits your purposes. This knowledge can also help when it comes to cleaning drains and dealing with clogs

Basics

A foot lock bathtub drain performs the function that its name describes, locking under pressure from a foot. If your bathtub or shower has this type of drain, stepping down on the stopper locks it in place, preventing water from draining. Most foot lock drain stoppers offer flexibility, by moving back and forth under pressure to help avoid stubbed toes. Unstopping a foot lock tub so water can drain requires you to bend down and pull the stopper up. Or if you have dexterous toes, you can pull it up with your foot.

Assembly

Foot lock bathtub drains typically some with their own assemblies. An assembly usually consists of plastic piping designed to create an airtight seal at one end for the drain system and a drain hole for the stopper. The drain hole has elements designed to help the stopper form a watertight seal. Such elements may include threads, such as those found on a screw, to secure the stopper in place when you step down on it. Rubber gaskets may also be part of the assembly. These gaskets work in tandem with a similar element on the stopper to create suction that holds the stopper in place.

Cleaning

Foot lock bathtub drain stoppers are ideal when it comes to cleaning a drain. Unlike pop-up stoppers or rotary drain systems, which contain numerous, interconnected mechanical parts, foot lock stoppers pull completely out of a drain under minimal pressure. If your drain system regularly experiences problems with clogs or requires frequent cleaning, a foot lock stopper or similar drain stopper system can save you a significant amount of time when you clean your drain system.

Similar Drain Stoppers

A handful of similar drain stopper types exist. These stoppers all work as independent units that you can easily remove from your drain system, in the same way you can with a foot lock bathtub. A roller ball stopper works exactly like a foot lock tub, only manufacturers design them for hand, not foot, operation. Lift and turn stoppers do exactly what you expect -- when you push and turn them, they prevent water from entering a drain; and when you lift and turn them, they allow water to drain out.

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