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Is your toilet constantly running?  Have your water bills increased? Do you find yourself jiggling the handle of your toilet?

If your toilet continues to run after flushing, the flapper may be the cause of your problem.  Flapper failure is among the most common reasons for running toilets.   A flapper functions as a water tight seal preventing water from trickling down into the toilet bowl.  If the seal is compromised, water will run into the bowl.  If your toilet is running, you could be wasting thousands of gallons of water each year resulting in increased water bills.  Jiggling the handle could provide a temporary solution, however eventually you will need a permanent fix.  If your toilet keeps running and running, the likely cause is a worn-out flapper.  Learning how to replace a toilet flapper is straightforward and easy on the pocket book!

What is a flapper?

The flapper is a rubber piece in the bottom of your toilet tank.  The flapper’s function is to create a water tight seal in the tank that holds the water before and after flushing a toilet.  When you flush the toilet, the flapper raises allowing the toilet to flush.  The flapper then returns to its position recreating a watertight seal. Over time, toilet flappers deteriorate, allowing water to trickle past the water tight seal.

How do you know if your flapper needs to be replaced?

In some cases, mineral deposits will prevent the flapper from creating a water tight seal.  First, clean out any build up that may have accumulated in your toilet tank.  Build up can prevent a flapper from securing properly.  If your toilet is still running after cleaning, test the integrity of your flapper by pushing down on the flapper.  If your toilet stops running when pressure is applied to the flapper, your flapper needs to be replaced.

How do I change my toilet flapper?

Replacing a flapper is simple and inexpensive. This do it yourself project requires a new flapper and a little bit of time.

Turn the water off – Make sure you shut the water off to the toilet before you replace the flapper.  The water supply line is located on the wall next to the toilet.  To shut the water off, turn the valve clockwise until it stops moving.

Empty the toilet tank – After the water is shut off, empty the tank by flushing the toilet.  This will drain the tank allowing you to work effectively and easily.

Remove the worn-out flapper – The flapper connects in two places in you tank.   First, disconnect the flapper chain from the flush handle.  Typically, the chain is attached to the handle via a small clip.  Unclip the chain.  Most new flappers include a new chain. Second, near the bottom of the flush valve you will see small pegs that protrude out the sides.  Flappers press on and off these pegs.  Simply pull the flapper off.

Purchase a new flapper – Bring the old flapper with you when purchasing a new flapper. Flapper’s come in two sizes, a 2-inch diameter outlet for the flush valve and a 3- inch diameter.  Many new water conserving toilets require a 3-inch diameter outlet. If you are unsure of which size to purchase, look at the flush valve opening at the bottom of the tank.  For a flush valve opening that appears to be the size of a baseball, purchase a 2-inch flapper.  If the opening is larger and is the size of a softball, purchase a 3-inch flapper.  The flapper needs enough overhang to produce a water tight seal.

Install the new flapper – Attach the flapper on the pegs near the bottom of the flush valve, then clip the chain to the flush handle.  The chain should have a little slack. You may need to adjust the position of the chain to ensure the lever opens the valve easily when flushed.  Too much chain will weaken the seal.

Make sure the flapper is functioning properly – Turn the water back on.  After the tank fills, flush the toilet several times to ensure the flapper is functioning correctly.

If your toilet continues to run, call a professional plumber to diagnose and repair your toilet.

Many things can go wrong with toilets.  The Clean Plumbers offers a full range of plumbing services.    We carry all name brand toilet parts and units. No matter what trouble you encounter, out team of technicians can solve your problem.  If you need toilet repair services, or a new toilet call us today.