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A Guide to Toilet Flapper Replacement

Is your toilet constantly running, and you don’t know what to do? You might need to replace your toilet flapper. Since a toilet flapper makes it possible for a toilet to regulate water in its tank and flush waste down the drain, you’ll likely want to know when you’ll need to replace your toilet flapper and how to correctly install a new one.

What Are Toilet Flappers?

Toilet flappers are the rubber seals you’ll find in a toilet’s tank. These flappers are designed to stop water from leaving the tank and cover the flush valve when you’re not flushing the toilet. When you flush the toilet, the handle lever will lift the flapper so that water can exit the tank via the flush valve and flow into the bowl.

When Do You Need to Replace a Toilet Flapper?

Occasionally, toilet flappers can break down or become damaged, leading to various toilet issues. One of the biggest signs you’ll need to replace your toilet flapper is when your toilet won’t stop running. A major cause of toilets continuously running comes from toilet flappers that don’t properly seal the flush valve, as a lack of sealing will cause water to flow into the bowl consistently. If your toilet flapper doesn’t seal, you’ll need to replace it.

Usually, toilet flappers won’t properly seal due to damage from chlorine and other chemicals, bacteria growth, for age. All of these potential dangers can cause your flapper to not fit around the flush valve or have cracks in it. Since damaged toilet flappers allow water to flow into your toilet bowl constantly, not fixing them can cause you to waste water, receive higher water bills, and have less water pressure when you actually need to flush the toilet.

How to Replace a Toilet Flapper

If you want to avoid higher water bills and keep your toilet running at its best, you’ll likely want to know how to replace a damaged flapper. Luckily, this sort of replacement is usually fairly easy. However, you’ll want to follow a few steps to ensure you select a toilet flapper that fits on your flush valve and will perform well over time.

Review the main steps for replacing a toilet flapper below:

  • Find the appropriate replacement flapper: You can find a few different flappers on the market, so it’s important you pick the right one for your toilet. Since most toilets need either two-inch or three-inch flappers, you’ll want to measure your damaged flapper to determine the size you need. Besides looking for the right size, you’ll also want to select one featuring the same connection points as your old one.
  • Turn off the water: Begin by shutting off your toilet’s water. You can cut off the water by rotating the toilet’s shutoff valve, usually found on the toilet’s water supply line. After turning off the water, flush the toilet until most of the water is out of the tank.
  • Remove your old flapper: Next, you’ll remove your old flapper. Start by disconnecting the flapper handle lever from your flapper chain. After your chain is disconnected, remove the flappers’ side ears from the flush valve tube’s pegs and place the old flapper aside. If you have a hard plastic flapper, the ears will snap off, while soft rubber flappers will simply slide off. 
  • Ready the new flapper: When your toilet’s flush valve tube has the flappers connected to pegs on its side, use a pair of strong scissors to cut off your new flapper’s ring. You can usually find this ring on the flapper’s back, but keep in mind that some flappers won’t come with a ring. If your toilet has a flush valve without side pegs, don’t cut off the ring on your new flapper, as this ring allows you to slide the flapper over the toilet’s overflow tube.
  • Install flapper: If your flush valve has pegs on its sides, hook the flapper’s ears onto the pegs. For flush valves without pegs, you can simply slip the flapper over the flush valve.
  • Adjust chain: With the flapper securely placed over the flush valve, connect the flapper’s chain to the handle lever. You may need to adjust the chain, as you need it to have a little bit of slack when it’s in a resting position. If the chain is too tight, it won’t allow the flapper to close all the way, and if it’s too loose, it can stop your flapper from fully sealing. Keep adjusting the chain’s slack until you find a good middle ground.
  • Test new flapper: With your new flapper installed, turn your water back on. After your toilet has water again, let the tank fill up before you flush the toilet a couple of times.  While you flush the toilet, make sure the flapper moves up and down. Also, check that there isn’t water continuing to flow into your toilet bowl after the flapper closes over the shutoff valve. With the checks completed, you’ll have successfully completed the toilet flapper replacement processes.

Choose Bonney for Sacramento Plumbing Services

If you need toilet repair in Sacramento, turn to Bonney. We proudly provide drain and plumbing services to those in the greater Sacramento area, and we’ll be happy to inspect your toilet for signs it needs repairs. Alongside performing toilet repairs, we can clean clogged drains and even provide trenchless sewer replacement services. We also provide several coupons to ensure you get the best deal possible. Review our plumbing and drain and sewer services today. If you need a repair or other service, please feel free to request an appointment.