Water Hero

How to Fix a Leaky Toilet Flapper

Posted by Monica Levy on Jul 30, 2018 11:18:28 AM

Compared to other leaks that can happen in your home, a toilet flapper leak is one that will cause a good deal of frustration. The steady trickle of water you hear when the bathroom hasn't been used in hours will not only waste water, but money too. Keep reading to learn more about how easy it is to replace a leaky toilet flapper!

What is a Toilet Flapper?

You may be reading this post knowing that you have a leak somewhere in your toilet, but are not sure what a toilet flapper is. If that is the case, do not worry!

A toilet flapper is the valve that sits at the bottom of your toilet tank. When you flush the toilet, the flapper lifts up and lets water flow into the bowl. As the tank empties, the toilet flapper sinks back to block the opening and allows the tank to refill.

toilet diagram with flapper

A leak in your toilet flapper can either be identified by the sound constant of a trickle, or can cause a surge of water to top off the tank. While this problem can sometimes be fixed by simply jiggling the handle, after a while this trick will stop working and you may have a more serious leak on your hands.

How to Fix The Problem

While toilet flappers are normally pretty durable, they can wear out over time. The average toilet flapper lasts about 4 to 5 years. It is important that you replace your toilet flapper when needed to prevent damaging leaks. The replacement process is an easy and cheap task, so fix your toilet flapper now to avoid kicking yourself later!

Close Supply Line

Before you start to replace your toilet flapper, be sure to turn off the water supply to the tank. If the valve looks corroded or weak, turn off the water at your main, not at the supply line. After turning off the water, flush your toilet to drain the water in the tank. This will make the replacement process much easier, allowing you to work unobstructed.

Buy a New Toilet Flapper

A new toilet flapper costs $5 or less, and fixing the problem now will most likely save you money in the long run. Toilet flappers differ based on the make and model of your toilet, so it is important to purchase the correct type.

To be sure you are getting the right replacement, bring your toilet flapper to the store! Most toilet flappers snap off and require no tools, others are held in place with a machine screw.

Regardless of the type of toilet flapper you have, both the price and replacement process are similar amongst all.

Prepare the New Flapper

It is necessary to set up your new flapper based on your toilet's design.

toilet flapper replacement

Most toilets have their flapper configured to attach to the pegs on the sides of the flush valve tube. If this is the case with your toilet, cut off the ring (if there is one).

If your toilet does have the side pegs for the flapper, keep the ring on. The ring will be used to slide the flapper into place over the overflow tube.

Install the New Flapper

To install the new flapper, either hook each ear of the flapper to the pegs on the flush valve, or slide the flapper over the overflow tube.

Then, be sure to connect the flapper chain back to the handle lever. You may need to adjust the length of the chain. When the handle is in resting position, the chain should have a little slack. If the chain is too tight, the flapper might not close completely. On the other hand, if the chain has too much slack, it can prevent the flapper from dropping down.

 

toilet flapper and chain

 

Turn the Water Back On

Once the toilet flapper is installed, you can go ahead and turn the water back on. Be sure to test the new flapper and the chain length a couple times to ensure that you have installed it correctly. You can test your new toilet flapper by flushing the toilet a couple of times and watching the flapper go up and down.

If the flapper is opening and closing appropriately for each flush, and the chain does not appear to be getting caught, you are done!

Replace Regularly

Now that you have learned just how easy it is to replace a leaky toilet flapper, be sure to keep up with maintenance on it. At first sign of failure, a toilet flapper should be replaced. This will prevent the leak from worsening and stop it from potentially causing damage to your home.

Tags: toilet tank leak, toilet leak, toilet supply line, toilet supply line leaks