If the toilet is flushing by itself or running all the time, it may be time to replace your flapper. Usually, most people want to call a plumber to do the job. However, replacing the toilet flapper is actually a pretty simple thing to do. Particularly if you have a hard plastic toilet flapper, this article will walk you through all the steps to replace the flapper easily yourself.
Toilet Flapper Functions
A flapper is a part found in the toilet tank. Ultimately, the flapper creates a tight seal on the tube and prevents water from leaking out. When you pull the flush lever, it rotates the flapper and causes the water to flow, initiating the flush process. However, if the flapper gets damaged and doesn’t seal properly anymore, it will allow water to run continuously through the toilet. Constantly running water both increase your bills and prevents the toilet from having a powerful flush. You should replace or repair your flapper as soon as you discover any issues.
Types of Flappers
There are a few types of toilet flappers, but they can all be replaced in a relatively similar way. To start, you’ll want to verify if your flapper is a tank ball, seat disc, or rubber flapper.
A large ball usually made from rubber, the tank ball seals the overflow tube. However, if the chain is the wrong length, it might not make a perfect seal. On the other hand, a seat disc is basically a plastic disc that seals the overflow tube. With the seat disc, the weight of the water will hold it open until the flush is complete.
Finally, a rubber flapper connects to a chain which is released during the flush. These flappers work pretty fine but might cause problems if the chain length is not correct, similar to the tank ball. If you think your flapper chain may be the incorrect length, you’ll want to start the repair process by doing a few simple adjustments.
Adjusting the Flapper Chain
As mentioned above, it could be that that your flapper is not damaged but just requires an adjustment. To check your flapper, you’ll first want to turn off the water supply valve for your toilet. This valve is usually near the floor, somewhere around the toilet. Simply rotate it counterclockwise and the water will stop running to the toilet.
Once you’ve cut the water supply, detach the toilet lid and place it in a safe location. You should now have easy access to the inside of the tank. You will notice a chain connected to the lever arm. To shorten the chain, detach the pin and move it up the chain. Then, put everything back and test the toilet. If this step doesn’t resolve the issue, try adjusting the pin a bit more until everything functions as expected. However, if it looks like the chain is the correct length, you may need to replace the entire flapper.
Removing a Flapper
Before you can replace your flapper, you will need to buy a new unit and remove the old one. However, don’t worry – it’s pretty simple to find a new flapper. To start, make sure the toilet tank is completely empty, and be sure to turn off the water supply line. Then, flush the tank, which could cause the flapper to fall off by itself. You can also check to see if there are pegs holding the flapper in place. If there are, you can simply disconnect the pegs, detach the chain from the lever, and then you’ll have removed the old flapper.
Next, when you go to buy a new flapper, make sure it’s the same as the previous one. Using the same model will save you from any possible troubles. Then, you need to attach the flapper to the valve. Simply snap it on or align the flapper holes with the pegs, reversing the process you followed to remove the old flapper. Then, attach the chain to the lever, making sure to leave a bit of slack. Worst case, you may need to adjust the chain as described above to ensure the right fit.
Finally, turn on the water by rotating the shutoff valve clockwise. Water should then fill the tank, but make sure to check the water level. If it’s too high or too low, turn the screw on the fill tube to adjust it. Then, you can confirm that your toilet is now functioning as expected without any leaks or other flapper troubles!
As you can see, the steps to replace a flapper aren’t too complex. Particularly if you have some DIY experience, you should be able to troubleshoot and replace your flapper easily. Be sure to follow any special instructions from the packaging when installing your new flapper and your toilet will be back to normal in no time.