Help! Why Is It so Hard to Flush My Mansfield Toilet?

Maybe the flush valve seal needs to be replaced. Here's how.

If you’re like me, you don’t even know what the parts inside a toilet are called. All you know is, it is taking all your strength to push that little handle that flushes the toilet. What’s up with that?

If your toilet has suddenly become really hard to flush and it feels like the plunger is “sticking” at the bottom, then chances are the flush valve seal needs to be replaced.

The flush valve is the contraption that controls how much water flows from the tank into the toilet bowl. Sometimes it looks like a flapper with a chain coming out of the top. Sometimes (as in Mansfield toilets) the flush valve looks like a tower that lifts up to let the water flow or settles down to stop it.

The seal on the flush valve is a rubber ring, and over time it can deteriorate. When it does, it gets harder to break the suction and let the water flow through the valve.

Flush valve seals are usually available at hardware or home improvement stores. Make sure you know who manufactured your toilet before heading out to the store to buy a new one.

Note: If you’re picky about the way your hands look, make sure to put on a pair of latex or close-fitting rubber gloves before starting your toilet repair. The water in the tank is clean, so there’s really nothing nasty about this repair, but if the deteriorated seal was black, sometimes your fingers can get smudged with an inky residue.

To Replace the Flush Valve Seal on a Mansfield Toilet with a Tower-Style Flush Valve, Follow These Directions:

1. Turn off toilet water supply, behind the toilet where the pipes run into the wall. Flush the toilet so the water empties out.

This is the water shutoff valve. Turn it clockwise to shut off water to tank.
This is the water shutoff valve. Turn it clockwise to shut off water to tank.

2. Disconnect the water refill tube. This is a little bendy tube that goes into the top of the whole tower assembly. Just pull it out gently.

Pull the refill tube out of the top of the flush valve assembly.
Pull the refill tube out of the top of the flush valve assembly.

3. Unscrew the cap that the refill tube goes into. It looks like a little flat donut, and it’s wider than the flush valve tower.

Unscrew the cap.
Unscrew the cap.

4. Lift off the flush valve tower.

Lift off flush valve tower.
Lift off flush valve tower.

5. Take off the old seal. It’s rubber, so you can pinch it and pull it out like a rubber band. (This is where you might get that inky black stuff on your hands,

That red rubber ring is the flush valve seal. Remove it, and replace with a new one.
That red rubber ring is the flush valve seal. Remove it, and replace with a new one.

6. Put new seal into space between top two grooves. When it’s fitted in properly, you can gently turn it.

Slide the tower back on, screw on the cap, slide the refill tube back in place, turn on the water again, and you're done!
Slide the tower back on, screw on the cap, slide the refill tube back in place, turn on the water again, and you're done!

Once you know what all the things inside a toilet are called, it’s much easier to find the information you need on the internet. There is a wealth of knowledge out there.

Now you can sit back and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with having done your own household repair!

Comments 30 comments

Robin profile image

Robin 5 years ago from San Francisco

Thanks for this excellent guide. I loved all of your original photos and the topic is great for those that have that type of toilet! Welcome to HubPages. You are off to a fantastic start with only 2 Hubs. Wow!

SaraleeEtter profile image

SaraleeEtter 5 years ago from Ohio Author

Thanks so much, Robin!

Jodelle Brohard 5 years ago

Great article! I know a lot more about the inside of my toilet tank now than I did before.

Cindy 5 years ago

Wow! Thank you so much for the info.& step by step instructions (& pics)! That is my exact toilet and until now have had a hard time finding the answer to that pesky flushing question in my head! My lever broke and after relpacing is still hard to flush and now I know why and how to fix it! Mucho thanks!

Dave 4 years ago

Thanks. Great instructions!

sanjay 4 years ago

I had same issue which was fixed after following your instructions,however there were some issues like water leaking in the bowl (inside) so tank keeps filling up sound keeps coming up.

Issue was fixed with seal put in top groove and rotate to see it is moving. There was a black ring from where the color was coming,that should not be removed, only red color seal which sits on top of black seal.

Here is another video which was very helpful.

Thanks a lot.

Strong 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this information:)

Alla 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have been looking for a solution for our hard to flush Mansfield toilet. Now I can finally fix it!

Mike 4 years ago

Thanks for the info Saralee. Had the same problem. Thanks also Sanjay for your comments.

Carol 4 years ago

I did it!!! Thank you SO MUCH for this helpful article. Our toilet has had this problem for the last few years and I was ready to call in a plumber. This was such a simple fix even I could do it! I especially appreciate the heads us on the black stuff. Would have been real unhappy to get that all over my manicure. :)

4 years ago

Thanks for the DIY page. Pictures and instruction were great. Two problems I ran into:

1. There are two types of Mansfield valve seals, the tower one here which is a red circle and a second one that is black and looks totally different. Didn't look at the picture closely and bought the wrong one assuming there was only one Mansfield seal.

2. A lot of black gunk filled the toilet reservoir while trying to get the old seal off. It's helpful to turn the water back on to clear it out as it totally obscured the bottom of the tank. Just make sure the refill tube is pointed in the tank.

Nita8 4 years ago

Thanks! You just fixed my two Mansfield toilets! We've almost broken the handles on both of them trying to flush. Now, we can use one finger. Thank goodness for people like you who are willing to take the time to write these articles. Photos were very helpful.

phumla 4 years ago

thank you thank you thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

fixitsister 4 years ago

My husband was zip-tying the handle to the tower as the suction was so intense it broke the original. Thanks for walking me through this! We have company coming and I didn't want a toilet that was difficult to flush. You have a gift for true step by step directions. Thank you, Saralee!

Saleem Wani 4 years ago

Thank you for great Instructions. I followed your instructions and my Toilet is working like charm again.. Thanks again....

Josh 4 years ago

The worst toilet money can buy.

Even after changing the guts they don't flush great. They have a flat spot after the trap. Replace the toilet!

CC 4 years ago

Thanks for making a detailed yet simple guide to follow for the repair. Thank

Golobulus 3 years ago

This worked! Just replaced these on all of our Mansfield toilets and they are easy to flush again. Thanks for the article!

liamm1320 3 years ago

It's always a bummer when you can't figure out why your toilet isn't flushing. We've been having that problem for a while now. Do you have any suggestions? My friend said to go here:, what do you think?

Jeff 3 years ago

I had a similar problem and was pulling my hair out as I couldn't fix it. I then found this ( which pointed me towards the float valve. Mine was damaged in the same fashion as what that site depicted. I followed the directions and bam - my toilet was repaired.

wc 3 years ago

thanks a lot for your detailed instructions! step #6 regarding how it should be fitted is the key. i appreciate your help very much!

the irony 3 years ago

From one PR gal in Central Ohio to another, this solution worked perfectly. -- M Vroom

Kenya 2 years ago


It was so easy and fast.

Jill 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this! After breaking two flush levers from a very hard to flush toilet this seems to have fixed the problem. The pictures were a great help too!

jen 2 years ago

Just did this with your step by step instructions at my side --thanks sooooo much!!!

Miss Nancy 2 years ago

Use only original Mansfield black seal. If you use an off brand or the red ones, it will leak again in 3 months. I go to Ace Hardware and get the factory correct seals.

Nita8 2 years ago

I used the red ones on two toilets, and it's been almost two years ago, and they're still working fine for me. One of them is for a guest bedroom bath, so that wouldn't make a good example since it's not used that much. But the other is in the main bath and is used daily, and it's good, too. Anyway, that's been my experience, but the off brands may have more than one manufacturer. Maybe I just got a good one!

You can see my prior comment under Nita8 above.

Rob 2 years ago

Here's a tip to save some cash and/or a trip to the Home Depot. Take out the tower as described. Rather than removing the seal, just use ~120 grit sand paper to lightly sand the bottom of the tower, along the edge where it connects to the seal. Not sure how long this lasts, but it fixed mine just now. If the seal is too tight, making the plastic slightly skinnier seems like an easier fix than a replacement.

hoodman 2 years ago

awesome article.... solved my problem.!!!

chabias profile image

chabias 8 months ago

Nice, clear instructions. Thanks!

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