What to do when your tub is draining slow

You’re filling up the tub for a relaxing soak, and you notice the water isn’t draining away as quickly as it’s pouring in. Before you panic, let’s address the question: Is it really a problem if your tub doesn’t drain as fast as it fills? The answer might surprise you.

Brooklyn Bathtub filling faster than it drains.
Short Answer: No, It’s Not a Huge Deal

While it might seem concerning at first, it’s not necessarily a major issue if your tub doesn’t drain as quickly as it fills. The flow rate from the tub spout can be quite high, displacing water at the drain’s source and affecting the drainage speed. So, a slightly slower drain doesn’t always signal a plumbing disaster.


Long Answer: It’s Still Something to Look Into

Tub drainage may not always keep pace with the flow rate from the tub spout, but chances are that if you are here, your tub is draining very slowly. If you think your tub is draining slower than you would expect, you should assess the situation thoroughly to ensure you don’t have an issue.


Common Causes

  • Hair and Debris: Accumulations of hair, soap scum, and other debris are frequent culprits of blockages.
  • Pipe Issues: These can range from design flaws to obstructions or even damage.
  • Venting Problems: Proper venting ensures water flows smoothly. A blockage or issue in the vent can affect drainage.
  • Sediment Buildup: In areas with hard water, mineral deposits can accumulate and impede water flow.


When Should You Be Concerned?

  • Overflow Risk: If the water fills much faster than it drains, there’s a risk of overflow, leading to potential water damage.
  • Bacterial Growth: Prolonged standing water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to unpleasant odors and health risks.
  • Increased Wear on Your Tub: Constant exposure to water can wear out the sealant and finish of your tub.



  • DIY Fixes: For minor blockages, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar followed by hot water can help. Plungers can also be effective.
  • Drain Cleaners: They’re available, but they contain harsh chemicals. Use them as a last resort.
  • Professional Help: If DIY methods don’t work, consider calling in a plumber, especially if you suspect a deeper issue.


Prevention is Key

Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent drainage issues:

  • Use a hair catcher or strainer.
  • Clean your tub and drain regularly.
  • Avoid disposing of grease or oils down the drain.



While a tub that doesn’t drain as fast as it fills isn’t always a cause for alarm, it’s essential to be aware of potential underlying issues. By understanding the causes and taking preventive measures, you can ensure a stress-free bath experience.

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