When your toilet handle is too loose, it tends to wiggle or feel slack when you try to use it. Not only are loose toilet handles annoying, but they may also affect how well your toilet functions… even though there’s nothing wrong with the toilet itself!
Luckily, loose toilet handles are a very minor toilet problem and they’re quite easy to fix. Here’s how you can fix that wiggling toilet handle, either by tighting or replacing it. All you have to do is follow these steps:
How to Tighten a Toilet Handle
- Close the toilet seat cover.
- Remove the toilet tank cover. Use two hands, as it can be heavy. Take it off the top of the toilet and set it aside. Set it on a flat surface to make sure it doesn’t fall and crack.
- Turn off the water shut-off valve for your toilet and press the lever to empty the tank. Removing all the water in the tank will allow you to tighten the handle from the inside properly. The shut-off valve is usually located on the base of your toilet, near the back.
- Look inside the tank to find the metal nut directly adjacent to the handle. It’ll be on the opposite side of the porcelain from the handle. This nut is probably the cause of your loose handle.
- Use an adjustable wrench to turn the nut counterclockwise until it’s snug. Don’t tighten it too much, or you could crack the porcelain and create a bigger problem than you solved!
- Test the lever by depressing it. You’ll immediately know if it feels (and sounds) better. If there’s still a problem, that’s okay. It just means that there is something slightly more wrong with your toilet handle than you can see. We’ll cover how to completely replace it next.
- After that, turn the water supply back on and let the tank refill. Congratulations! You just fixed your toilet handle.
How to Replace a Toilet Handle
- Figure out what hardware you need. You’ll likely have to do a little research here. Look up your existing toilet online to figure out its brand name, model, and make. You should be able to find out if you need a specific variety of handle relatively easily this way. Most hardware stores also sell universal handles, which will usually work just as well.
- Take a look above at the guide for tightening a toilet handle. Follow steps one and two, and then come back here.
- Look inside the tank and find the chain clip that’s attached to the lever. This is a small chain hooked onto the inside portion of your toilet handle. It goes from the handle to the flapper. Undo the clasp to detach the handle from the rest of your toilet.
- Remove the mounting nut. This is the same nut you would have tightened in the first walkthrough up above. This time, though, you’re going to want to loosen it. Take a pair of pliers to unscrew the nut (clockwise) and take it off.
- Pull the old handle out. Once the nut and chain holding it in place are removed, you could pull it out by hand. You might have to angle it a bit to get it out, but that’s normal. Once you’ve pulled it out, you can throw it away.
- Take your new handle out of its packaging. Unscrew the mounting nut, but don’t lose it. The nut could be metal or plastic. Either is fine; the only difference is how easily you can screw and unscrew it without using pliers.
- Put the lever into the tank the same way you got the old one out. You’ll know it’s in right when the handle is flush with the side of the tank.
- Reach inside the tank and secure the handle with the mounting screw. Remember to turn counterclockwise this time.
- Attach the chain to one of the holes in the lever. There are usually a few to choose from. You want around one inch of slack in the chain so that it flushes properly. Try a few of the different holes in the lever until you find the right length.
- Turn the water back on and test it out. It should flush easily, without rattling.
- Congratulate yourself on a job well done!
By following these steps, you should have fixed or replaced your loose toilet handle without any problems. Obviously, however, should doesn’t necessarily mean will.
If you’re having trouble with this or any other plumbing problem, feel free to get in touch with Mike Diamond. We’ll fix and replace your toilet handle and figure out what else is wrong at the same time. No matter what your toilet question, Mike Diamond has the answer.