Fixing or completely replacing a toilet handle isn’t something you usually think about until it’s absolutely necessary. By the time the thought enters your brain, it’s too late. It’s kind of like when you’re already on your way to a cousin’s wedding and realize you didn’t bring a present… or is that just me?
I can’t help you with the present, but fortunately for both of us, replacing a toilet handle isn’t too hard.
Replacing the handle on your toilet is done by detaching the chain from the current handle, removing the nut that holds the current handle in place, then replacing it with the new handle. Finally, reattach the chain to the new handle and give it a flush!
Granted, I’m glossing over some details here, but not to worry! Each step will be explained!
Remove Tank Lid
There isn’t much to this step, but you’ll want to make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions when you take the lid off.
For starters, make sure you have a firm grip on the lid itself. Sometimes the lid can be wet, causing it to be a little slippery.
Keep in mind that the materials that toilets are made of are definitely breakable (usually vitreous china and porcelain).
You don’t want to step on the lid or drop any tools and crack it while you’re working in the tank. Put the lid aside in a place that’s safe from potential accidents.
Unhook the Lift Chain
Again, this is a super simple step, so nothing too serious to worry about here.
In case you don’t know what the lift chain is (the only chain in your toilet tank), it’s the chain that’s connected to the lift arm. The other end of the lift chain is connected to the flapper itself.
Basically, whenever you flush the handle, the lift arm pulls the chain, lifting the flapper up and releasing the water from the bowl.
Unhook the lift chain from the lift arm, and that’s it. There generally isn’t a reason to unhook it from the flapper as well.
Remove Handle and Nut
There’s a plastic nut that holds the handle in place inside the toilet. The nut itself will need to be removed.
Depending on how tight the nut is and what toilet you have, you may need to use a wrench to do the heavy lifting. Make sure you are turning the nut in the right way. The threads will likely be in reverse from your view.
If you’re using a wrench, make sure that you don’t hit the toilet itself. If the impact is hard enough, you could crack the bowl.
Assuming you have purchased a new handle already (if not, definitely do that first), the next step will be to take the handle off.
Before attaching the new handle, this is the perfect time to clean that part of the tank.
After that, just put the nut back on the new handle the same way you took off the old one, and you’re done!
Reattach the Chain
Give yourself a pat on the back because the hard parts are over! The only steps left are to reattach the chain and test your work.
Reattaching the chain is easy. If you didn’t remove the chain from the flapper in step #2, the only thing left to do is to put it back onto the lift arm.
Once that’s done, give it a flush or two. If everything goes down as expected, you have successfully replaced your toilet handle!