How to Replace Toilet Flapper | Fixing a Broken Toilet Flapper

How to Replace a Toilet Flapper

If you can hear the toilet constantly run, it's possible that the issue is with the flapper. You can incur an impressive water bill if you don't take care of this problem. After learning to diagnose the problem, you will also learn how to replace a toilet flapper. Before we get to the troubleshooting, we need to start with the basics.

What Is a Toilet Flapper?

how to replace toilet flapper diagram

The flapper is the component within the toilet tank that closes the outlet to the bowl. When you flush the toilet, the mechanism lifts the flapper, which provides the water for flushing the bowl. The flapper returns to place, sealing the outlet closed, and the toilet tank fills back up with water.

Do I Need to Replace the Flapper?

Just because your toilet is running doesn't mean you have to replace the flapper. It could be the fill valve. The flapper is a cheaper part, and it's an easier replacement, so it makes sense to start there. You may not need to replace it at all. There might be something obstructing the seal. Feel around the edges to look for an imperfection in the seal. Sometimes there is too much slack in the chain, and it gets lodged under the seal. If you tighten the chain length, the problem is solved.

If the flapper is cracked or corroded and needs replacing, then it's no big deal. Any DIY novice can get the job done.

Fixing a Broken Flapper in 7 Steps

Here is the process for how to change a flapper (universal):

  1. buy a new flapper
  2. Close the shut-off valve.
  3. Drain the tank by flushing it and soak up any excess water with a sponge.
  4. Remove the existing flapper. Disconnect the chain from the flush lever. The most common setup is where the flapper is attached to pegs. Slip the flapper off the pegs. It's also possible that it's attached to the overflow tube. Or if it's not a rubber flapper, but it's made of plastic, then you might be dealing with clips. 
  5. Clean the area as needed.
  6. Install it by reversing the process outlined in step 4 and then step 3. If your new flapper has a ring for attaching to the overflow tube, but you choose to attach the new flapper to pegs, then cut off the ring before installing.
  7. Turn the water back on and listen as it fills the tank all the way and then stops. Success!

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Remember, you can save big on all the toilet parts and plumbing tools necessary to complete this project, right here at PlumbersStock. Our greater organization has 30+ years of experience in the plumbing industry, and we've brought that experience online. We are partnered with the most trusted brands and offer great prices, especially to industry professionals. If you can buy in bulk, we can give you great deals, so please contact us.

Related Resources:
Changing a Fill Valve in 10 Steps
Adjusting a Toilet Float Valve
How to Replace a Toilet Flange
Fix a Toilet Tank Leak
Wikipedia: Toilet

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