Toilet 101: Replacing A Worn Or Broken Handle

Posted on: 2 March 2016

By and large, toilets don't require a whole lot of maintenance. Yet over the years, certain problems can develop--especially where the handle is concerned. If you have a toilet handle that is broken, rusty, or damaged in some other way that necessitates replacement, read on. This article will guide you through the process of installing a new handle.

Prep Work

The first thing you'll need to do is take off the lid of your toilet's tank. Place a towel or other soft material on the floor to lay it on; this will protect the fragile porcelain from becoming accidentally cracked. Next, take a look at the walls inside of the tank. You should be able to find a model number for your toilet. This will be useful when shopping for a new handle.

Now disengage the length of chain running between the handle and the toilet flapper. This should be as simple as slipping a metal hook out of a hole on the toilet handle. Because there are usually several such holes, make a mental note of which one your chain was hooked to. That way you will be able to set the proper length right off the bat.

Remove Old Handle

The handle is attached to the wall of the tank by means of a threaded nut. Gently remove this nut through the use of a crescent wrench. Be aware, however, that most toilet nuts screw on--and off--in a backwards direction. In other words, loosen the nut by turning it to the right.

If the nut is stubborn and doesn't want to come loose, this is often the result of corrosion--even if it isn't visible from the outside. Give the nut a squirt or two of penetrating lubricant and let it soak in thoroughly before trying again. By facilitating the ease of removal, this will also lessen the chances that the wrench will slip and damage the tank.

Purchase And Install New Handle

Figuring out the right replacement handle for your toilet isn't exactly rocket science. But do yourself a favor and avoid the hassle of having to head back to the home improvement store by taking both the model number of your toilet and your old handle along with you the first time. That way you'll be sure to get an exact replacement.

Having purchased your new handle, all the installation process involves is reversing the steps outlined above. Don't forget that the nut will need to be tightened by turning it to the left. Before you do this, however, its not a bad idea to coat the threaded portion of the handle with waterproof grease. This will not only make the nut easier to tighten--but much easier to remove when the time comes for your next handle. Click here for more information about plumbing.