The toilet flapper is a valve at the bottom of the toilet tank that helps your toilet function properly. However, if you notice water leaking into the bowl of the toilet from the tank, it may be time to replace your toilet flapper.
To minimize the risk of leaks, you should fix your flapper as soon as possible. Thankfully, replacing a toilet flapper is both easy to do and very affordable. Particularly if you know the make and model of your toilet, you can easily buy a replacement flapper.
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Different Types of Toilet Flappers
With the rise of technology and different types of toilets on the market, there are also several different types of toilet flappers. In this section, we will provide an overview of the three main types of flappers:
- Seat Disk: A seat disk flapper has a circular disk on the overflow pipe which prevents water from exiting the tank. Then, when you flush, the flapper lifts and allows the water to flow through into the toilet bowl. One downside to seat disk flappers is that they’re quite large, which makes them difficult to replace.
- Tank Ball: Tank ball flappers have a rubber ball that sits on the overflow valve instead of a disk. The ball connects to the flush lever via a chain that lifts up when you flush, allowing the water to flow down the pipe. With these flappers, it’s important to ensure that the chain holds the ball at the correct height. Otherwise, an ill-fitting chain can result in leakage or a less powerful flush.
- Rubber Flapper: The third type of flapper is a rubber flapper, which is actually the most common option in modern toilets. These flappers come with a rubber cap attached to the overflow pipe. When you flush, a chain lifts the cap to allow the water to pass down the pipe. These flappers are less bulky compared to the seat disk option mentioned before.
Choosing a Toilet Flapper
When buying a new toilet flapper, the most important thing to consider is the size. Toilet flappers used to be universal, but today, they usually range between 2 and 4 inches in size.
The size of the flapper is usually determined by a few factors: First, it depends on the date it was manufactured. While older flappers tend to be about 2 inches, newer models can be anywhere between 3 and 4 inches. Therefore, you may have a clue to which size you’ll need based on how old the previous flapper was from your toilet.
Another factor that can indicate the size of the flapper is the gallons-per-flush rate of the toilet. For example, newer toilets that have a flush rate between 1.28 and 1.6 gallons usually have 3-inch flappers. In general, if you have a newer toilet, you’ll likely need a larger flapper.
Measuring Flapper Size
So what if you can’t figure out the flapper size based on the toilet’s age or flush efficiency? To start, if you know the model of your toilet, you may still be able to find the information without having to physically measure anything within your toilet.
Instead, you can usually find the flapper size online. If you are not sure about the model of your toilet, check inside the tank for the model number, and then search online.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to directly measure the flapper, you can confirm the flapper size by measuring the inside drain diameter within your toilet. If the inside drain is less than 2.5 inches, you have a 2-inch flapper. If it’s around 3 inches, you have a 3-inch flapper, and if it’s over 3.5 inches, your flapper size is 4 inches.
Tools Required to Install Toilet Flapper
Replacing a toilet flapper is simple and doesn’t require many tools. All you will need is:
- Heavy-duty scissors
- Rubber gloves
- The new flapper
- A screwdriver
Steps To Fix A Broken Flapper
Here are the basic steps to quickly and easily fix a broken flapper in your toilet:
- Start by stopping the water supply to your toilet either with the valve on the back of the toilet or by turning off the supply for the whole house.
- Next, clear any remaining water by flushing the toilet. When you flush the toilet, remember the length of the distance between the flapper and the flush handle. Keep this distance in mind when you install the new flapper.
- Access the tank of the toilet to get to the broken flapper. If the flapper has a circular ring around the tube, you’ll want to get rid of the refill tube, separate from the overflow tube. If there are no rings on your flapper, you can ignore this step.
- Next, remove the flapper by taking out the chain from the flush lever. Gently remove the damaged flapper from the overflow tube. In case the flapper is attached to the flapper’s ears, unhook each ear from the tube.
- Now, head to the plumbing supply store if you don’t already have a replacement flapper ready. The new flapper should not cost you much. You might also want to get a beaded metal flapper chain replacement if needed.
- Finally, install the new flapper. Start by placing the flapper over the overflow tube. Then, push it down until the ring of the flapper touches the bottom of the tank. The bulb of the flapper should be directly above the valve opening. Follow the package instructions for the final details for your specific flapper.
- Once you install the new flapper, you can turn the water supply back on and test out your toilet to make sure everything works successfully.
Leaking flappers can result in a lot of wasted water, which is both expensive and terrible for the environment. Thankfully, replacing a broken flapper is a quick, easy, and affordable process. By following this guide, we hope you’ll easily avoid any issues from a broken flapper in the future.