Replaced the toilet handle only – for appearance purposes (a fluidmaster one). Now you have to hold the handle down till the toilet does a proper flush. Otherwise it just does a half flush basically. I even have the chain all the way right. If I go down even one more link, the flapper won't seal properly. So the chain isn't the problem. I bought another cheap handle and it does the same... sort of confused, The toilet is only a couple years old. Maybe this is normal for new, universal handles. Any advice is welcome. It's not a big deal, just a little annoying.

  • Remove the chain from the lever and experiment with the chain length by just holding the chain and mimicking the arcing action of the flush lever. If you can't get it right this way I would suggest perhaps there is an issue with the flush valve (aka flapper). Sep 16, 2017 at 2:25
  • The flapper is lifting correctly. I noticed the two new handles stop turning after about a quarter of a turn. Where as the old handle (I think) did a half turn (pointing all the way down). Maybe that's the problem...?
    – Taylor
    Sep 16, 2017 at 2:29
  • 1
    When you remove the chain from the lever and open the flapper by pulling on the chain, does the flapper stay open by itself until the tank drains, or do you have to hold the flapper open to empty the tank? Sep 16, 2017 at 2:40
  • I pulled the chain all the way up, and it gently floated back down. While performing a normal flush.
    – Taylor
    Sep 16, 2017 at 3:11

2 Answers 2


Toilet tank flapper valve geometry varies all over the place. Some contain air and float when opened, some contain air but have a bleed hole and eventually sink. Some are made to tip over their hinge, counterweighted with water that then runs out through a bleed hole. The exact solution to your problem will depend on which kind of flapper valve you have.

In every case, though, the trick is to adjust the chain so it is just tight enough to pull the flapper open, and no shorter. Once the flapper has been pulled far enough to stay open, it must be free to continue moving on its own.

Your description suggests that your chain is too short. That's why @Jimmy Fix-it wants you to experiment with the chain -- not to see if the flapper is working properly, but to see exactly how far you need to pull to trip the flapper's action.

The other thing you need to do is to inspect and adjust the angle of the chain. At the point where it becomes taut, the top of the chain must be directly over the flapper or its hinge. Pulling at a large angle may not open the flapper far enough.

Trouble with toilet flush plumbing is very common. I am always surprised when a flush toilet in my house works properly for as long as five years without some kind of attention. Just be thankful your problem does not involve a leak.

  • I have to pull the chain almost all the way up for a normal flush.
    – Taylor
    Sep 16, 2017 at 3:12
  • move/bend the flush lever arm and position the chain so it sits above the flapper, and even a hair behind it. Just be sure the lever does not impeded the fill valve or float if applicable
    – noybman
    Sep 16, 2017 at 3:43

I believe, the new handles/lever are designed not to lift The flapper all the way up. I bought several handles from Lowe’s and Home Depot, they all do the same.

The angle lift of the lever is a lot less than the old one, I believe it’s only 45° instead of 90 or above. I’m looking for one with the old design and I’m having a hard time to find it.

  • He's right. His "answering style" distracts from that, but the newer ones are engineered to work that way. Flush and release vs. flush and hold.,,,suggested for removing liquid waste and solid waste respectively. I recall stumbling across that in a product manual for a new toilet years ago. Maybe it's the geometry of the mechanism?
    – gnicko
    May 15, 2022 at 23:40

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