I have to hold the handle down to flush my toilet completely. I took a look inside and I am wondering if it has something to do with the chain or the flapper. I am noticing that the flapper does not stay up unless the handle is being held down.

Does this make sense? Does it sound like I need a new flapper or could it be something else altogether?

6 Answers 6


First try shortening the chain, it sounds like the chain is not pulling the flapper past the breaking point (the point where it stays open on its own).

If that doesn't work, you can try replacing the flapper.


Tester's answer is the more likely, but here's something else to keep in mind.

Newer flappers have an adjustment where you can turn them to flush faster or slower. This aligns an air hole between straight up (faster flush) to the side (slower flush). Air bubbles out of the hole and water gets sucked in the bottom until it's heavy enough to fall closed.

So now, if you have one of these designs, you may just need to twist it to the appropriate setting (there's usually some numbers written on it and you can feel a distinct clicking as you twist it). But I can also see some debris getting stuck in the drain hole causing water to stay in the flapper, so that it never resets to be full of air. If that's the case, clean the bottom off, or as Tester says, replace it.


The flapper was falling down too fast unless I held the handle. We stopped up the hole in side of the flapper with marine tape. The flapper falls slower now and the toilet flushes great. We also tried shortening chains, etc and nothing else worked.


Be sure to follow the instructions for installation for the particular flapper that you've purchases. As others have mentioned, make sure the chain length is tight enough to open the valve far enough to open. It "should" float up after it passes a certain point.

In my case, I bought a Fluidmaster Universal Flapper. It has holes on each side to attach to the knobs on the fill tube. It also has a sleeve to go over the fill tube if the fill tube DOES NOT have knobs to attach it on. It has to be installed one way OR the other, not both.

If there are knobs to attach to AND the sleeve is slid over the fill tube, it will be "spring loaded" to stay in the closed position. If there are knobs, cut the sleeve portion off per instructions.

  • This seems reasonable advice. However, it also seems like an ad. Please disclose any affiliation with the company (including "happy product user").
    – FreeMan
    Feb 16, 2021 at 11:47
  • I'm just a guy with a broken toilet and sucker for fake Amazon reviews. If the highest review was for Bob's toilet flappers (not a roaring 20s reference), then we'd be sitting here talking about Bob and the common denominator of me not being able to follow instructions. Feb 17, 2021 at 14:14

Clean the water jet hole at bottom, opposite of drain (I used a hanger). Builds up after a few years, restricts flow into tank


If there’s a metal arm that pulls the flapper up, just bend it so the chain pulls the flapper back (toward the overflow pipe) as well as up. You can also bend the arm upwards or downwards to get the chain length right. I just fixed two toilets with this problem by bending the arm into the right position.

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