How To Replace A Sink Plunger That Breaks Off

Justin Ross

Bathroom sinks typically have a pop-up plunger and stopper that act to open and close the basin so you can fill it up with water. One day you might walk into the bathroom, push the plunger with a normal amount of force, and the plunger will pop off in your hand. You don't need to call in a plumbing professional yet. A simple trip to the hardware store and some minor adjustments will fix your plunger problem.

Things You Need:

  • Universal pop-up drain kit
  • Small wrench / pliers

Step 1: Examine the Setup Under Your Sink

In order to replace the plunger, you need to understand how the stopper assembly under your sink all connects together. Have a friend or family member push and pull the remaining plunger nub while you're under the sink. See the long, vertical rod that's moving? That's the down rod, which basically serves as the rear end of the part of the plunger you normally push and pull. The end of that down rod attaches by joint clamp to a slanting rod called the horizontal rod.

These are all of the parts under there that you need to know for this project.

Step 2: Replace the Down Rod

Press on the clamp that connects the down rod and the horizontal rod. Pull the down rod free of the connection. Either pull the down rod entirely out of the sink by tugging down, or push it up through the plunger hole if a stub of remaining plunger makes it impossible to pull it through. Discard this broken piece.

Open your universal drain kit and remove the plunger piece and the washer. Place the washer over the plunger hole in the rear of your sink. Stick the plunger piece through the hole, over the washer, and take time to make sure that it's positioned in a way that is easy to use.  

Step 3: Replace the Down Rod

Remove the new down rod and the nut from the kit. Get back under the sink and push the down rod up into the base of the plunger now sitting on top of the sink. Manipulate the rod until it snaps into place within the plunger. Slide the nut up the rod until its at the connection point of rod and plunger. Twist the nut on with your fingers or pliers.

Use the joint clamp to reattach the down rod and horizontal rod. Test your plunger to ensure that it's working. If you still have a problem, it might be time to call a plumbing professional. For more information, contact Biard & Crockett Plumbing or a similar company.