Easy Fix When You Have to Hold Down the Toilet Handle to Flush Your Toilet


Do you have to hold down the trip handle to flush your toilet? If yes, I may have a simple solution for you.


When you press down on the toilet handle, chain that is attached to it pulls up a toilet flapper (a.k.a. tank ball).

Toilet flapper’s job is to open (to allow water into the bowl via flush valve inlet), and remain floating until the water level is lowered. As the water level is lowered, flapper is lowered at the same time, ultimately closing the inlet so that the water can be refilled.

You have to manually hold the flapper open by holding down the toilet lever because the flapper is unable to stay afloat by itself.


Flappers are made from rubber and it degrades over time, especially in a mineral rich, wet-environment. The degradation allows rubber to lose its floating capability so to solve this problem, we need to replace it (during the removal process, the old flapper literally disintegrated in my hand – see fig. 1.1).

Required Tools and Materials

I tried bunch of different flappers and found Korky to be the best. I chose the repair kit version, just in case I needed to put on a new rim.


  1. Shutoff the toilet water supply;
  2. Flush the toilet to drain the water in the tank;
  3. Disconnect the trip lever chain from the flapper;
  4. Slip off the flapper’s collar from the overflow pipe;
  5. Before replacing the flapper ball, gently scour the seat or rim, of the outlet valve with paper towel. If there are any remaining deposits, soak a sponge in a 50/50 mix solution of hot water and vinegar and to gently scour the rim again; Do not use a steel wool or scouring pads as they may score the rim, resulting a leak;
  6. Reverse installation Steps #3 – 4, making sure that the “ball” side is facing down;
  7. Turn on the water supply and test flush


Korky flapper repair kit comes with a tube of silicone and a new seat. If your seat is nicked or otherwise damaged, you may want to use these parts to ensure that your new flapper does not leak.

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Good luck with your repair and let me know how it turns out!


10 thoughts on “Easy Fix When You Have to Hold Down the Toilet Handle to Flush Your Toilet”

  1. @mike-

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, i initially thought that too but when that flapper didn’t stay float, it made sense.

  2. @Laurie-

    It should fit as-is. Just make sure to get all the gunk off the seat (use something like a soft scrubber).


  3. Thank you! This makes sense. Other sites were talking about chain length, but if it’s been working fine for 15 years and suddenly stops working, the chain ain’t the problem. I’m going to Lowes to get a flapper!

  4. awesome. make sure to pick up some stainless steel cotter pins (attaches chain to pulldown bar) as they tend to break. whatever you do, do not use a paperclip as it will rust the pulldown bar

  5. My plumber just put on a new flapper and I am now having this problem, which I didn’t have before. So this cannot be my problem.

  6. If your plumber made the replacement and you are still experiencing the same problem, i say get a new plumber.

    there really isn’t much to troubleshoot inside the tank

  7. @JZ

    lol, thanks for catching that typo. IN my defense, bowel movement involves a toilet, so…..

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