How to Replace a Toilet Flapper Valve
A running toilet caused by a toilet flapper leak can result in thousands of gallons of wasted water and drive up your monthly utility bills. Fortunately, replacing a toilet flapper is simple. Watch as our experts show you how to replace a toilet flapper in just a few short minutes. If you've replaced your toilet flapper valve and still suspect that you have a leak, our Bathroom Tips and Maintenance page can help you determine whether you do and when it's time to call a professional.
Can you hear water running in your toilet tank? Do you have to jiggle the flush handle to make it stop? Have you noticed rippling water in the bowl? These are signs that your toilet is leaking water right down the drain. The most common reason a toilet leaks is that the flapper valve is worn out or damaged. A bad flapper valve can also cause a toilet to flush by itself, a condition known as "ghost flushing." A flapper valve is a pliable rubber seal that opens like a lid to allow water into the toilet bowl when the toilet is flushed. The flapper valve then slowly lowers over the valve seat to seal off water flow when the flush has completed. A new flapper is soft and flexible but over time, hard water minerals and in-tank cleaning products will damage the rubber causing it to lose its pliability. This prevents the flapper from forming a tight seal over the valve seat. To replace a flapper valve, first you need to shut-off your water supply valve behind the toilet. Turn it clockwise. Next, remove the lid from the tank...then flush the toilet to remove as much water as possible from the tank. Disconnect the lift chain from the flush lever. The next step is to pull the flapper from the pivot arm mount pegs on the overflow tube. Wipe off the seal on the valve seat to ensure a good seal. Next, line-up your new flapper valve with the pegs on the overflow tube, positioning the flapper over the drain. Clip the chain to the flush lever, leaving some slack in the chain. Then push down on the flush lever to make sure the flapper's range of motion is right. You may have to adjust the chain a time or two to get it right. It's time to turn-on the water supply again and let the toilet tank re-fill. The flapper valve should form a tight seal that prevents water from escaping the tank and draining into the bowl. Once you're satisfied the flapper is not leaking, replace the tank lid and discard the old flapper valve. If replacing the flapper doesn't stop the leak, the drain seat itself might be bad or the top surface is corroded and isn't allowing the flapper valve to get a good seal. Replacing the fill valve and other tank parts may also be necessary to stop a leak. Remember, if you run into trouble, a Roto-Rooter plumber is only a click or call away. [Roto-Rooter jingle]