What to do when your toilet flapper stops flapping correctly

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It is usually an easy fix if you have a toilet that keeps wasting water because a...

It is usually an easy fix if you have a toilet that keeps wasting water because a constantly running toilet is usually a sign of a bad toilet flapper. Don't pay for wasted water, learn how to fix the problem quickly and easily.

Find the problem

Inside your toilet tank is a stem or arm, which connects to the flush handle, with a chain attached. The chain connects to a round rubber plug (the flapper) that is attached to a vertical pipe near the center of the tank's floor. When the flapper does not cover the vertical pipe snugly, your toilet will keep running after a flush.

Clean the flapper

If the flapper is undamaged, cleaning mineral build-up off the flapper and flush valve seat below it can help solve the problem.

  1. Turn the water for the toilet off by turning the handle on the lower back side of the toilet.
  2. Put on a pair of rubber gloves if you're worried about putting your hand inside the tank.
  3. Lift the flapper out of the flush valve seat. It will not lift very far, and it's important that you do not force it. The water will run into the toilet bowl when you do this.
  4. Use a scouring pad or old toothbrush and gently scrub around the inside and top of the seat assembly.
  5. Scrub the underside and edges of the flapper.
  6. Release the flapper and see if it drops securely into the seating assembly. If it does, turn the water back on and let the toilet fill. If the tank fills and shuts off, congratulations, you're done. If the toilet does not shut off, you will need to replace the flapper.

Replace it

You can pick up a new flapper kit at the hardware store, a department store or online. Follow these instructions to install it:

  1. Turn the water off.
  2. Unhook the chain from the arm.
  3. Unhook the flapper from hooks or bolts holding it at the bottom of the pipe.
  4. Lift the old flapper out and seat the new flapper in its place.
  5. Attach the hooks or bolts that hold the flapper to the pipe and attach the chain to the flapper.
  6. Turn the water back on and flush the toilet. If it does not flush right or shut off, adjust the chain length so the toilet flapper can open and close correctly.

If you are uncomfortable with this or any toilet repair project, call your Atlanta plumbing professional for some expert help.

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