I have a confession. We’ve lived in our “new” place for more than six months now, and every time we or anyone else has used our downstairs bathroom, we’ve had to hold down the flush lever to make it work properly.

That’s right, every time we flush that toilet, it takes five seconds of holding down the lever. I’ve done the math, and that means that Scott and I have each spent at least 90 minutes of our lives holding a flusher down.



The other day, I decided that I’d had enough. I assessed the problem, and it turned out that the fix was incredibly easy, required no tools, and was done in less than five minutes. If you spend too much time holding your flush lever down, here are some easy steps to fixing the problem:

Remove the tank cover from the toilet top. Put it in a safe place on top of a towel so it stays put and also protects your other surfaces from damage. Next, assess the problem. The main reason you have to hold the flush lever down is because the chain that attaches the lever to the flapper ball has too much slack.

Locate this chain. It should be running from the vertical, long and skinny flush-handle rod to the rubber flap on the bottom of the tank.


Using your fingers (or needle-nose pliers, if needed), remove the hook from the flush-handle rod. Then, reconnect it to a lower link in the chain, making it shorter between the rod and the flapper ball, and reattach it to the rod.

Check your progress. Flush the toilet as you normally would (without holding down the flush lever). The rubber flap should stay open throughout the flush. If it doesn’t, shorten the chain a bit more, and try again. Repeat this process until the toilet flushes properly.

When you’re done, make sure the extra slack does not hang too low. If there is too much slack, trim the extra chain length. Then, carefully replace the tank cover.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.