A lift rod is a piece of a plumbing fixture that allows a drain or a flapper to open or close. Lift rods are most commonly found as part of a toilet or a faucet. A broken or improperly installed lift rod may interfere with the function of the plumbing fixture, but problems are usually easy to identify and simple to repair.
A toilet lift rod is a vertical piece inside the toilet tank. It connects to the flush lever on the outside of the tank by a horizontal arm that raises and lowers the rod. When the lever is depressed, the lift rod raises the flapper or stop in the tank, allowing the water from the tank to move to the bowl. In some toilets, the rod may be replaced by a chain or wire that serves the same function.
When a toilet lift rod is broken or misaligned, the toilet may not flush at all. As the flush lever is depressed, there may not be any resistance, or there may be a scraping noise along the side of the tank. This problem is easily identified visually by removing the lid of the tank and examining the parts therein. If the rod is broken, replacements are usually available at hardware or plumbing supply stores. Should the rod be misaligned, it may be possible to move it back into place manually by pressing or bending the rod into alignment, then depressing the toilet tank lever to check the function of the toilet.
In sinks, a faucet lift rod is usually present behind the spout. It is an exposed piece that will usually have a knob or finial on the end that matches the style of the faucet. The rod connects to a bar, called the pivot rod, below the faucet that pulls the pop-up drain in the sink basin closed as the rod is lifted, or open as the rod is pressed down.
If the faucet lift rod is not connected properly, the pop-up drain in the sink may become stuck in place. Should this happen, it may be fixed by inspecting underneath the faucet. Most of the time, the rod may have just slipped out of place. On some faucets, the lift rod may be secured by a nut that may need to be repaired or replaced. Repair kits and replacement faucet lift rods are readily available in many hardware stores.