Not all plumbing issues can be handled quickly and independently, but fixing a loose toilet handle is something that you will do without a fuss. The best part of the minor project is that you won’t have to deal with any of the actual plumbing or pipes in your house, but you will get your hands wet.
When your toilet handle is loose, it can be more than just an annoyance. The wiggling or slack that you feel means that whenever you flush the toilet, you may not be receiving the full strength of a flush. Tightening a section or replacing the handle should solve this issue.
The first thing you will want to do is inspect the toilet handle itself, and that will require you to remove the top off the tank of your toilet. Sometimes the lever is simply snagged on another part inside and freeing it with your hands will immediately resolve the issue. If it snags, that could also prevent the flapper from creating a seal that will lead to your toilet running and running until it is closed.
Another issue you might have with your handle is that it has loosened up so much that it cannot fully open the plunger, not allowing your toilet a full and functional flush. To make this easier on yourself, turn off the water shut-off valve to your toilet and empty the tank. Look on the inside part of the handle, right on the other side of the porcelain. A loose nut here will cause your loose handle, and a quick tightening of the nut should make things better.
For that, you will need an adjustable wrench, and following the rules of righty-tighty, get it properly snug. Do not over tighten, though, otherwise you could damage the porcelain and cause worse troubles than just a loose handle. Give the handle a pull, and if it looks, feels, and sounds better, then turn the water back on and your toilet is ready for business.
Rarely, the issue will be that you break the handle and will require you to replace it with a new mechanism. Most hardware stores should carry an appropriate model that will fit your toilet, and some handles are adjustable to fit any, if not all, toilets. Remove the old handle by loosening the nut on the inside of the tank, this time following the lefty-loosey rule. You should pop out the handle from the outside.
There will also be a chain that connects the handle to the flapper, and this will need to be removed so that the new handle can take over the flushing duties. Install the new lever the same way that you removed the old and tighten the new handle to the new lever. Last, attach the chain from the lever to the flapper. This length is adjustable, so the proper amount of slack allows the perfect flush.
Finally, turn the water back on and give your new handle a test flush. If everything runs as intended, then your job is done. If the flush still isn’t adequate, then all you might need to do is adjust the length of the chain, and your project is complete.
Lucky for you, replacing or tightening a loose toilet handle is one of the simplest fixes that homeowners can do themselves. However, not all plumbing fixes are this quick and painless. If the status of your toilet or home plumbing worries you, call Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134.
At Kellermeier Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest and upfront with our customers and strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service.