How to Fix a Toilet Lift Chain

Once water fills the toilet tank after a flush, a floating ball prompts the water to stop flowing. When the toilet flush is pressed, the lift chain pulls a rubber flapper, which opens a hole in the bottom of the toilet tank allowing water to enter the toilet bowl.

The toilet chain is a small but mighty component of your toilet that works on a simple mechanism. But this vital component of your plumbing system is also the source of many plumbing problems.

That’s why it’s important to 1) know how to replace the toilet lift chain. 2) replace it regularly.

Before you stress, you don’t need to be a professional plumber to do this job. Our simple, four-step guide will show you how.

When Should I Fix or Replace My Toilet Lift Chain?

If your toilet is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s likely time to replace the lift chain.

1. Your Toilet Is Always Running

There are lots of things that can cause a toilet to run constantly, but if this issue is caused by the lift chain, it’s because the lift chain is either too short or too long.

If the chain is too short, it won’t have enough slack to allow the flapper to settle on its seat. Similarly, if the lift chain is too long, it will hang off the flapper. During flushing, it can go underneath the flapper, preventing proper sealing, leaving your toilet to run constantly.

2. Your Toilet Doesn’t Flush Completely

If you have to hold the toilet handle down for the toilet bowl to empty, the lift chain likely has too much slack. This can cause the flapper to be pulled up too easily or fall down too quickly. Adjusting the chain as seen in our tutorial below should remedy the issue.

For more information about this issue, check out our blog: 4 Reasons Your Toilet Won’t Flush Completely or At All 

3. Your Toilet Chain Broke

Over time, the lift chain will experience regular wear and tear and corrosion. You may notice that when you flush the toilet you hear the sound of a metallic chain falling inside the tank.

4. Your Toilet Chain Keeps Coming Off

It’s not uncommon for the toilet chain to come off. If the toilet chain detaches from the flapper, you may be able to reattach it. But if you reattach the chain and it continues to come off, we recommend replacing the part.

How to Adjust a Toilet Chain in 5 Steps

If your toilet chain keeps coming off, it could have too much slack and may just need to be adjusted and not replaced.

Step 1. Turn the water to the toilet off by closing the shut-off valve, located under the toilet tank and where the water comes out of the wall. Turn this valve clockwise to stop the water flow.

Step 2. Remove the lid from the toilet tank.

Step 3. Unhook the pin in the chain located at the end of the handle arm. Put the pin down a few links in the chain. You want to move this toward the flapper to make the chain shorter.

Step 4. Reinstall the pin onto the end of the handle. Return the lid to the toilet tank.

Step 5. Turn the water valve back on and let the tank fill up. Flush the toilet to see if this remedied the issue. If the problem isn’t fixed you may need to adjust the toilet chain again.

How to Replace a Toilet Lift Chain in 6 Steps

Step 1. Turn the water to the toilet off by closing the shut-off valve, located under the toilet tank and where the water comes out of the wall. Turn this valve clockwise to stop the water flow.

Step 2. Remove the lid from the toilet tank.

Step 3. Disconnect the chain from the handle arm and remove the old flapper and the old chain. These are attached so they need to be replaced together. Remove by sliding them off the mounting arms, then discard.

Step 4. Put the new flapper on the mounting arms the same way you removed the old one.

Step 5. Determine how much slack you need to attach the chain to the handle arm. This is a critical step for proper operation of the toilet. As you know, if there is too much slack it might not lift the flapper properly which can cause continuous water flow, or it can prevent your toilet from flushing altogether.

You can make sure that you have enough slack by adjusting the toilet flapper so that it sits flat. Then, hold the chain up towards the arm handle. Give the chain a little slack and attach it to the handle arm with the clip pin.

Step 6. When the chain and the flapper are in place turn the water to the toilet back on and test it by flushing. If it doesn’t flush properly, adjust the slack in the chain until it works as it should.

Contact Sansone for Toilet Repair Services in South Florida

If you’d rather let the pros install your new lift chain, or if you’re not sure if it’s time for a new one, Sansone is here to help. Our team of experienced plumbers can handle all of your plumbing needs. We provide quick and efficient plumbing repairs to get your home back to being the comfortable oasis it should be.

Contact us today with any plumbing questions or schedule an appointment that’s convenient for you by phone or on our website.

Broward: (954) 800-2858
Palm Beach: (561) 701-8274
St. Lucie: (772) 879-5656

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