How to replace a toilet handle & rod

Updated February 21, 2017

The handle and rod are among the few moving parts in a toilet. When activated, the handle will lift the rod which, in turn, pulls a chain that opens the flapper valve in the toilet tank, allowing the toilet to flush. Over time, the handle and rod in a toilet tank may become corroded and may need to be replaced. Or perhaps you are simply redecorating your bathroom and want a different handle to match the new design. Whatever your reason, replacing a handle in a toilet is a relatively easy procedure.

Turn the water off at the shutoff valve near the toilet.

Remove the cover from the toilet tank. Set it aside carefully, as tank lids usually are made of porcelain and can break easily.

Pull the flush chain in the toilet up to open the toilet flapper and allow the water in the tank to drain completely.

Unhook the toilet chain from the flush rod and place it in the bottom of the toilet tank.

Unscrew the large plastic or metal nut on the inside of the toilet tank that holds the toilet handle in place. The nut will have a reverse thread, so rotate it clockwise to loosen it. Be careful not to tighten the nut, as this can damage the tank. Remove the nut completely from the handle assembly.

Remove the old toilet handle and rod through the hole in the tank.

Install the new handle and rod by inserting the rod through the hole in the tank until the threads and the square fitting behind the threads on the handle are in position in the hole.

Slip the new nut for the handle onto the rod and work it up to the threads on the handle. Screw the nut on, counter-clockwise, until the handle is secure. Be careful not to over-tighten the nut.

Reattach the chain to the rod. Turn the water back on and allow the tank to fill with water. Test the handle by flushing the toilet. Readjust the position of the chain, if necessary. Replace the toilet lid.

Things You'll Need

  • Large adjustable wrench
  • New toilet handle and rod
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