Toilet handles are more essential to your entire toilet than you may know. They are the beginning of the flushing process, and if they are not working properly they will simply not pull on the chain and you will end up getting your hands wet, struggling inside the dirty tank to pull it yourself. It is a daily nuisance nobody wants to deal with. Maybe your toilet handle is not broken or always loose, but is simply ugly, old, or worn, and you are looking to update it with a new one that will give your bathroom a fresh new look.
Thankfully, replacing a toilet handle is an extremely easy fix you can do yourself in a few minutes. Get creative with your choice when deciding which new handle to purchase; consider different colours, styles and shapes that contrast or complement the current style of your bathroom, they even make them in animal shapes and many other characters, or go for a simple and sleek design that could go well with everything. Once you have made up your mind, follow these easy steps to quickly replace your old toilet handle:
- Close the shut-off valve: If you look under your toilet, you will find the shut-off valve that controls the water flow into it. Close it completely to prevent the tank to fill back up while you are working inside.
- Flush the toilet: This will drain the tank and allow you to work inside.
- Remove the lid: Set a towel on a flat surface that is out of your way. Remove the porcelain tank lid, and carefully set it on the towel.
- Unhook the chain: When you look inside your tank, you will see the handle is directly attached to an arm that is in turn linked to a small metal chain, which lifts the flush valve and lets water into the bowl. Note which hole the chain is hooked to at the end of the arm and unhook it.
- Remove the old handle: Now you can proceed to remove the old handle with the help of a standard wrench, or just with your hand if it has a plastic nut. Loosen the nut with the wrench (use some lubricant such as WD-40 to release it if it seems stuck), remove the handle and slide the arm out through the hole. Mind that most toilets have nuts placed backwards, which means you will have to turn it in the reverse direction of what you would normally do to loosen something.
- Clean out the area: Before you attach your new handle, you will want to take some time to clean out any mildew or rust that may have accumulated around the handle hole. Use a regular scrub sponge with soap, being careful not to damage the porcelain.
- Place new handle: Insert the arm into the hole, slide the nut in, and turn it onto the handle base with your hand, which would mean you have to turn it as if you were loosening it in case it is a backwards design. Use the wrench to finish tightening it, being careful not to over-tighten it and therefore potentially cracking the porcelain.
- Attach the chain: Grab the metal chain and hook it back on the hole it was originally placed in. Make sure the length is right for it to let the flush valve fully seal, and short enough to fully lift it when you pull the handle. Cut the chain or try using the other holes in the handle arm to adjust it to just the right length. Open the shut-off valve again to let the tank fill up and do some test flushes to make sure everything is working properly.
And just like that, you will have installed a brand-new toilet handle in your bathroom on your own without much effort. These 8 simple steps can be performed by anyone without needing previous experience and will get rid of that nuisance you would rather not deal with in no time.