What Makes a Toilet Handle Hard to Flush?


Is your toilet handle a little hard to flush? Don’t worry if it won’t flush at all or it’s getting harder to do it. There are many reasons for a toilet handle getting too hard to flush. But, there’s no need to get alarmed.

There are things you can do to ensure you get it back to excellent working condition without high plumbing costs and repairs- even though a professional plumber is the best person to rely on. 

Let’s learn.

Why Does the Toilet Handle Get Stiff?

There are many reasons why your toilet handle is so stiff. But, you will find all the reasons inside your tank because that’s what your toilet handle is connected to. To check what’s going on with your toilet handle, lift the lid of your toilet tank.

The Chain is Snagging

The chain connected to the ball could be snagging against something inside your tank. If it’s stuck, the handle will be harder to push.

The Chain is The Wrong Length

The seal or flapper of your toilet should be able to rise to about 90°. If the chain is too long, the flapper won’t rise or will only rise a little bit. 

Worn-out Flapper

Flappers get stuck when they’re worn out. If it’s hard to pull, make sure you replace it.

The Handle Itself

If you’ve checked the inside of your tank and everything seems to be ok, take a look at the handle. It could be cracked, or the nuts that hold it in place inside the tank could be loose.

Where is The Handle Attached to the Toilet Tank?

So, where does your toilet handle disappear inside the tank? Well, it’s attached to an arm inside your tank. A chain connects this arm to a toilet flapper or flush valve inside your toilet tank. The toilet handle is attached to the outside of the toilet tank.

You can find it in the right-hand corner. When you put some pressure on the toilet handle or push it down, the trip lever rises. The chain connected to the trip lever or arm will lift the flush ball, and water flows into the ball from the tank. 

How Do You Flush the Toilet if the Handle is Broken?

If you are in a bind and the plumber is not coming by until later, you can still flush your toilet if your handle is missing or broken. All you need to do is lift the flapper to release water into the bowl to flush the toilet. You have to remove the toilet lid to lift the flapper. Next, you need to tug on the chain that connects the handle lever and the top of the flapper. If this chain is disconnected or broken, all you need to do is flip the flapper using your hand.

Here are some steps to guide you through:

  1. Take off the toilet tank lid and set it aside safely
  2. Find the flapper at the bottom of your tank
  3. Check if the chain connecting the flapper and handle lever is intact. If it is, gently pull it to lift the flapper and flush your toilet.
  4. If the chain isn’t intact, put your hand into the water and lift the flapper. 

If you’ve got no running water, you can still flush your toilet by pouring water directly into the toilet bowl. It’s not the most sanitary method, but it’s handy when you have no choice.

  • Get a 5-gallon bucket of water and fill it up to ¾
  • Pour the water into the toilet bowl as quickly as you can but make sure you don’t splash any water or overfill the toilet bowl.

Pouring water directly into the toilet bowl will provide sufficient pressure to let the water get pulled down by gravity. You can also use this method to pour water into the toilet tank when there’s no running water. 

  1. Take off the toilet lid and place it on a safe surface
  2. Fill a bucket of water
  3. Pour the water to within an inch of the top of the tank
  4. Pull the flapper and flush

How to Tighten a Loose Toilet Handle?

If your toilet handle is loose, you might find it hard to flush. Here’s how to tighten it:

Put down the toilet seat cover: this prevents small parts or tools from falling in while you’re working.

Take off the toilet cover: the toilet cover might be heavy so consider using two hands when removing it. Ensure you place it on a flat, safe surface.

Shut off the water supply: the shut-off valve is usually located near the base of your toilet at the back.

Empty the tank: press the tank lever, so you have easy access to the inside of the handle.

Find the nut:  the toilet nut handle is inside the porcelain wall next to the handle. Your nut is probably the course of your loose handle.

Tighten the handle nut: use pliers or an adjustable wrench and rotate the nut clockwise to ensure it fits snugly. Don’t over-tighten it, or the porcelain tank could crack.

Test the toilet handle: depress the handle to test whether it feels better. If it doesn’t, or it creaks, you might have to replace it.

Turn the water supply valve back on: turn on the valve to refill your tank.

How to Replace My Hard to Flush Handle

If your toilet handle is cracked and making it hard for you to flush, you need to replace it. Here’s how:

Choose the hardware you need to replace your handle with. You can get a universal toilet handle but confirm with a plumber or the hardware store that you don’t need a specific variety.

  • Put down the toilet seat cover, remove the toilet tank lid and empty the tank. Check previous steps for instructions on how to empty the tank.
  • Unclasp the chain clip that connects to the lever. It looks like a small chain attached to the inside part of your toilet handle.
  • Unscrew the mounting nut using pliers or a wrench.
  • Take out the old handle and once its chain and nut are out, pull it out.
  • Unscrew the mounting nut you see on the new handle. Make sure it doesn’t get too loose.
  • Put the new lever into your toilet tank and ensure it matches the position the old one was in.
  • Use the new mounting nut to secure the new handle from the inside of your tank.
  • Put the chain through one of the lever holes and make sure you have the correct length.
  • Turn the shut-off valve back on and test your new handle.


Request a Quote
Top Services

Request A Service Call

We’ll get in touch with you as soon as we can!