Homeowners are often aware that Murphy’s Law is alive and well when they attempt to flush their toilet and nothing happens. It seems more often than not these things tend to occur during the evening or on a weekend when plumbing help is not available. We do get asked about toilet lever arms, so in the event of a lever arm failure, here are some tips and tricks to help you get by until it is properly repaired.
First of All, What is a Lever Arm?
If you remove the toilet tank lid from your toilet, you will notice your toilet handle attached to a long, thin arm. This arm is known as a lever or swing arm. At the opposite end of the arm, is a small hole in which to hook the toilet chain. Normally, when you push down on your toilet handle, the lever arm pulls up, which causes the chain to rise. The chain attached to the toilet flapper also rises, allowing the water in the tank to enter the toilet bowl and complete the flushing process.
Fixing vs. Replacing
Sometimes the lever arm becomes corroded and rusted to the point of breaking, especially for those with hard water. If the lever arm breaks, there is nothing to lift up the toilet chain when you push on the toilet handle. Although the obvious plumbing repair is to replace the lever arm, that can’t happen if your toilet fails when home improvement stores are closed. As a temporary fix, you can take a flexible piece of wire, such as a coat hanger and loop the end of the hanger around the end of the chain. When you need to flush the toilet, gently pull on the hanger which will lift up the chain attached to the flapper and your toilet will flush.
When you go to the home improvement or plumbing store, it’s best to bring the old lever arm so you can match its size and length properly. Once you have the correct lever arm, it is a simple fix to remove the bolt for your toilet handle, attach the new lever arm and gently tighten the bolt. Re-attach the chain and then perform a test flush to make sure everything is working properly.
If you are having more complicated problems with your plumbing or toilets, we can help. Contact us today to make an appointment.