Home Plumbing How to Replace a Toilet Handle

How to Replace a Toilet Handle

How to Replace a Toilet Handle

One of the first DIY projects that I undertook was to replace a toilet handle. Commonly referred to as the “flush” the toilet handle is attached on the exterior of your toilet tank. Pushing the handle downwards initiates the flush. A malfunctioning toilet flush is as bad as it sounds. Without a proper functioning flush, you cannot use your toilet. But compared to any other equipment in your bathroom, a toilet handle is the easiest to replace. Hence, if you face the same fate as me, don’t fret and follow this guide to fix your toilet handle.

Firstly, remove your toilet tank cover to access your tank. You’ll be able to observe the various flush components in your tank. Your toilet handle will have a thin rod extending towards the middle of the tank. This rod will connect to your flapper by a steel chain. The rod, chain, and flapper together constitute your flush assembly. A problem with any of these three components will cause your flush to malfunction.

After opening your toilet tank, inspect the mounting nut behind your toilet handle. In my scenario, my toilet handle became loose and kept moving in place. A toilet handle needs to be firm in place and only move when you apply force to it. A loose or broken mounting nut can cause your toilet handle to malfunction. You can try tightening the nut using your hand and check if it solves the problem. In my experience, once your mounting nut becomes loose, it starts a repetitive cycle. Hence, it is advisable to replace your toilet handle rather than trying to re-tighten the nut each time.

IMPORTANT TIP – Do not overtighten the mounting nut or force it to tighten over your toilet handle. It can lead to damage to your toilet tank and the rest of the flush assembly.

If you are wondering what type of toilet handle to buy to replace your old one, you have a variety of options. First, you can buy the exact toilet handle which you had. As you have already used the same type of handle, you are familiar with its quality and durability.

Conversely, if you do not want to buy the same type of handle for any reason, you can opt for universal toilet handles. This is the best choice for individuals who do not want to spend time thinking about what kind of handle they should buy. As the name suggests, universal handles easily attach to any kind of toilet.

Additionally, while your toilet tank is open, observe the condition of your toilet flapper. If it is old and on the verge of wearing out, we advise replacing the flapper along with your handle. Furthermore, before staring any replacement work, shut your water supply valve to restrict your toilet tank from re-filling.

Average Cost To Replace A Toilet Handle

You’ll need to spend between $15-$30 to replace a toilet handle.

Time Required

It will take you between 30 minutes to an hour to replace a toilet handle. Be patient while attaching your toilet stopper to your new handle to avoid future leaks.

Tools & Materials

Removing Your Old Handle

  • Firstly, if your toilet handle is still functional, use it to flush your toilet.
  • Conversely, if you have a broken handle, pull on the chain connected to your toilet flapper.
  • As you pull, the flapper will lift and allow your toilet tank to drain. Keep the flapper open until all the water has drained.
  • There will be a rod extending from your toilet handle, which attaches to the chain by a clip.
  • The rod will have multiple holes to which the chain can attach, make a note of which hole you have connected your clip.
  • Remove the clip and hang the chain on the side of your toilet tank. This will allow for ease of installation. 
  • A mounting nut connects your toilet handle to the tank.
  • Try unscrewing the nut by hand to remove the handle. If the nut is stuck, use a wrench to remove it.
How to Replace a Toilet Handle Correctly
  • After removing the nut, carefully pull your toilet handle outwards to remove it.
  • Furthermore, we advise cleaning the area around the mounting nut prior to installing a new handle.
How to Replace a Toilet Handle The Right Way

Installing A New Toilet Handle

How to Replace a Toilet Handle Properly
  • Along with your new toilet handle, you will receive a mounting nut and an O-ring.
  • The nut and the ring come pre-attached to the handle. 
  • Unscrew the nut from the handle to remove it before you insert your new handle into the toilet tank.
  • Additionally, thread the handle through the opening in your toilet tank and hold it in place.
  • Re-attach the mounting nut and the O-ring and tighten by hand.
  • Your handle needs to be sturdy if you feel it is loose, tighten the mounting nut using a wrench.

IMPORTANT TIP – Do not over tighten the nut as it can break. Additionally, it could damage your handle and toilet tank.

  • Retrieve the chain you placed on the side of your toilet bowl.
  • You will connect the chain to the rod extending from your toilet handle.
  • Using the clip at the top of your chain, connect it to the appropriate hole in the rod.
  • The connection between the rod and the flapper needs to be firm but not tight. 
  • Additionally, ensure that the chain is free and not tied up around anything.

Lastly, open your main water valve and fill your toilet tank. Once the tank is full, test your flush. Observe the movement of your flapper as you push the toilet handle. The flapper should open completely and allow water to drain freely from the tank.

Furthermore, on releasing the handle, the flapper needs to seal the opening in your toilet tank. If any water is leaking from your toilet tank, you need to adjust your handle and chain connection. 

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Replace a Toilet Handle

Are toilet handle universal?

No, toilet handles come in various shapes and sizes. However some manufacturers do supply “one-fits all” handles which you can opt for.

Can replacing a mounting nut fix a loose handle?

Replacing the nut might be a temporary fix for your handle. If you handle is old, we advise replacing all its components.


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