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A trip lever is a type of mechanism that is found in many different bathtub designs. The purpose for the lever is to allow for the easy and quick movement of the tub stopper. Essentially, the lever works as part of an apparatus that allows the stopper to be opened or closed, making it possible to retain water in the tub or release the water into the drain. A similar type of trip lever is also used in many toilets, allowing water to be retained or to escape from the tank into the bowl of the device.
With both applications of the trip lever, the device is normally connected with the actual stopper by means of what is known as the linkage. Sometimes known as plunger linkage, this includes all the workings that cause the stopper to move upward or downward when the trip lever is toggled from one position to another. With a bathtub, the lever is usually located at a convenient level above the drain, making it easy to either move the stopper over the drain to retain water, or move the stopper away from the mouth of the drain to release the water once the bath is completed.
The exact nature of the linkage will vary in terms of the type of components used to trigger the desired action. One approach makes use of a simple design that involves the use of springs that help to control the action. With this design, the action of the lever either has the stopper completely out of the drain or all the way in the drain. A slightly different mechanism uses a type of hydraulic approach that makes it possible to adjust the position of the stopper so that the flow of water out of the tub is slower or faster, depending on the desired effect.
As with many mechanical components, the linkage or even the actual trip lever may require replacement from time to time. Fortunately, kits that include all the parts needed to effect the repair can be purchased at a local hardware store or even a home supply store. Most of these kits will include detailed instructions for removing the old lever, stopper, and linkage, and replacing it with the new parts. Depending on the type of materials used to manufacture the components, a new lever kit can be very inexpensive. Kits using components made of brass or other types of decorative metals will normally cost a little more than lever mechanisms created using high-grade plastics.