Have To Hold Handle Down to Flush Toilet (How to Fix!)
If you have to hold the handle down to flush the toilet then you need to change the chain length to about ½ inch slack. A toilet that can’t flush unless you hold the handle down indicates a problem with the flapper or a weak chain. The flapper should always lift away from the flush valve when flushing the toilet.
However, when the lifting chain slack is bigger, it won’t lift the flapper well to let enough water out of the flush valve. This will force the flapper to close prematurely. So, you have to reduce the chain’s length which can be a DIY project or need a professional.
Read on and learn more about how to fix all this.
Toilet Doesn’t Flush All the Way Unless You Hold
It’s a daunting task to hold the handle down when flushing the toilet. This problem comes for various reasons like the handle can’t lift fully because it’s loose and requires some fixing.
The problem can also be a result of too much slack in the chain connecting the flush lever to the flapper. When the chain is loose, the flapper will not lower as it should when flushing the toilet. This will force you to keep holding the handle to flush the toilet. Holding the handle down keeps the flapper upright and allows water to get to the bowl from the tank.
If you have to hold the handle down to flush your toilet because of a loose chain, you need immediate intervention. Here is a procedure you can use to repair it:
- Reduce the chain length but first, turn off the water supply to the toilet tank by closing the shut-off valve. Switch the valve clockwise to stop the flow.
- Remove the pin on the handlebar edge.
- Identify where the chain is in the toilet tank. After that, reduce the chain’s length to have a ½ inch slack.
- Test if it’s working. Try if the toilet can flush without you having to hold the handle down. If you still have to hold the handle, consider adjusting the chain further.
- Trim the chain. If the chain is still long and slacking, it will interfere with the rest of the tank. Use pliers to fix the chain.
Other reasons why the toilet can’t flush properly unless you hold it include:
The flapper rises in the tank whenever you flush the toilet to enable water to move to the toilet bowl. It can get damaged or out of place with time, not forming a tight seal. This will make water leak out of the tank to the bowl, so you have to hold the handle to enable enough water to collect before flushing. This is an easy-to-solve problem that only requires you to replace the flapper.
A Faulty Float
Usually, the float moves above the water level whenever it reaches a specific area in the tank and makes the valve close off. However, it will not work better when the float is spoilt or obstructed.
The tank won’t have enough water to enable you to flush the toilet. This will force you to hold the handle to create a balance on the float to have water in the tank. To stop this, you should replace or adjust the float to have it work properly.
Blocked Rim Jets
Another reason that can make the toilet handle not function well when flushing is clogged rim jets. Remember, water enters the toilet bowl through the rim jets.
The water flow will not be good when you have bacteria or dirt blockage. This will require you to hold the handle down to increase the force that enables the toilet to flush. You can simply fix this using a toothbrush and vinegar.
Toilet Handle Stays in Down Position
The handle stays in the down position mainly because of a broken or worn-out tab. Remember, the handle stays in an upright position because of the small tab inside it. When the handle can’t come back after flashing, you must replace the whole handle. You can do this by yourself, but the procedure depends on the type or model of your toilet.
Use the following procedure to rectify this problem:
- You should remove the lid to enable you to access the tank.
- Then remove the chain from the handle.
- Detach the nut in the tank that enables the handle mechanism to stay in place.
- Then replace the whole handle to have it work as usual.
- After that, return the handle mechanism in the tank.
- Fix the nut using a screw on the handle mechanism from within the tank.
- Also, return the chain to the handle.
- Test if the handle can stay upright after flashing.
- Finally, return the lid on the tank.
Note that you shouldn’t tighten the nut too much as this can make the threads break or the porcelain tank break.
When you have to hold the toilet handle to have it flush, the chances of water spilling out of the tank are high. Your water bills will be higher, and the surrounding surfaces might be damp, which can affect the look of your toilet.
To avoid this, you should check on the chain or flapper and work on them. If the chain is loose, consider reducing it to ½ inch to have it hold the flapper well.
However, if the flapper is damaged, replace it with a new one to solve the problem. But if the toilet handle stays in the down position, the best way to solve it is by replacing the whole handle. This will ensure the small tab holds it upright.