Dec 27, 2010

How to Fix Your Toilet So that You Don’t Have to Jiggle the Handle Anymore, Ever.

This one is for all you handle jigglers out there.

Life: “Sometimes after you flush the toilet, the water keeps on running. Then you have to jiggle the handle to get it to stop.”
Me: “I have to what?! And I thought I was a guest here. Okay, fine. I’ll jiggle the handle.”
  (3 days later…)
Life: “The toilet is running. Please jiggle the handle.”
Me: Again?! Who’s running this joint?”

Okay, so this is How to Fix Your Toilet So that You Don’t Have to Jiggle the Handle Anymore, Ever.

This is what’s happening inside the tank. You flush the toilet by pressing down on the handle. The handle lifts up a chain inside the tank that is attached to the plug. Then the tank water goes through the hole and down into the toilet bowl.

Here’s what it looks like:

Every once in a while, part of the chain falls into the hole before the plug does and so the hole isn’t blocked completely and water continues to run through the hole and down into the bowl. When you jiggle the handle, you are jerking this chain out from under the plug, allowing the plug fall back into its hole completely. Now, you will only ever have to do this if there is enough slack in the chain for part of it to get caught underneath the plug. If you shorten the chain so that it’s not long enough to get caught underneath the plug, then it won’t ever get caught underneath the plug and you won’t ever have to jiggle the handle to loose it free. So don’t jiggle the handle. Shorten the chain.

© Lynn Johnston. Republished with permission. Thanks Lynn! More of Lynn’s cartoons >>



  • Antoine Daniels says:

    I tried adjusting the chain in all postions(which is only three) one position the chain gets tangled, the other position the water continues to run, the third position the water runs and stops all day long, what to do, I’m lost

    • Hi Antoine, the first position is too long so the chain is getting tangled. The second position you tried it’s too short and the flapper isn’t falling onto the hole. It sounds like the third position is the middle position and that that is the one that’s going to work best for your length of chain. The reason that it runs and stops is probably that the flapper is old. (The flapper is the piece of rubber that stops water from running from the tank into the bowl, you can see it in the photo.) Flappers are just rubber and they get waterlogged after a while and need to be replaced. It sounds like what’s happening is that the water is slowly leaking through the flapper. After enough water leaks through, then the tank realizes that it’s not completely full and refills itself. That’s the sound you’re hearing. I hope that helps! Let me know that works.

      • Antoine Daniels says:

        Hey Mitch, Ok I replaced the flapper, but now it seems that the flapper don’t cover the whole hole regardless which hole I put the chain in cause I can hear it seeping out but if I move it a centemeter one way it stops but it’s no way to adjust the flapper the way i need to move it. well I thought what i did was working but as I am writing to you i just heard it run for about 3 seconds and it stopped, so what to do now. Man this is really a PAIN IN THE _ _ _.

        • Hmm. This is hard to answer without seeing your toilet. The only things I can think of are to try getting the flapper into the position where it blocks the whole hole and then attach the chain afterwards, and to make sure that there is nothing obstructing the flapper from completely closing over the hole. Here is a pretty straightforward video on how to do it but it sounds like there’s something else going on with your toilet, unfortunately. :(

  • randy says:

    its not that the chain is too long or too short, yes shorting it does work to solve the flapper problem, but the true or majority problem is the chain getting tangled all the time regardless of its length, if you really want to fix the tangle problem then you have to get rid of the chain. You want to use a waterproof wire or what works really good is a piece of nylon string. It is waterproof and it does not get caught in itself.