What is a Toilet Flapper?
A toilet flapper plays an important role. It serves as a plug that clamps down over the drain hole at the bottom of the toilet tank. When the flapper closes over the drain hole – also known as the flush valve seat – it prevents water from escaping from the tank until the toilet is flushed.
Once flushed, the plug opens allowing the tank to drain into the bowl. When complete and the tank is empty, the plug drops back into place allowing the tank to refill.
When to Change a Toilet Flapper?
Toilet flappers are made from rubber, silicone treated rubber, and hard plastic. Over time, a flapper degrades due to hardening of the rubber which can lead to crumbling bits and pieces, bacteria buildup and deterioration, and normal wear and tear.
Depending on the quality of the material and whether bleach or blue tablets were used in the tank for freshness can affect how long a toilet flapper will last. Flappers can last from one to five years or more.
Importance of Changing the Flapper
When a toilet flapper becomes worn out or degraded it begins to leak around the flush valve seat. It also prohibits the toilet from flushing properly. When a toilet flapper is leaking, the toilet will attempt to refill the tank, repeatedly. There is also the sound of trickling water as it leaks from the tank.
Although leaking around the seal may seem minor, over time, it will result in a higher water bill. It’s also not environmentally friendly to waste water resources.
Steps for Changing a Toilet Flapper
- Remove the lid from the toilet tank.
- Turn off the water valve next to the toilet.
- Flush to empty the tank.
- Look at the flapper-valve assembly. The flapper will either snap off, lift off protruding pegs, or be held in place by a screw.
- Disconnect the metal rod or chain attached to the lever arm.
- Remove the flapper.
- Take the flapper with you when purchasing a replacement. Purchase the same brand/type or a universal flapper to fit your toilet.
- Clean the lip of the flush valve seat with a soft cloth to remove any residue.
- Install the flapper according to the instructions for the type purchased.
- Once installed, use the hole closest to the toilet handle and reattach the rubber strap or chain into the trip lever arm. Keep it taunt with minimal slack.
- Turn the water on and allow tank to fill.
- Flush and watch to make sure the flapper fits snugly back into the seating. Adjust the chain or strap, as needed, to ensure the flapper is working properly.
- Replace the tank lid.
To avoid plumbing repair problems before they begin, schedule a service check-up with a certified plumber. Professional plumbers have the knowledge and tools to detect and repair faulty plumbing as well as provide annual maintenance to keep systems running smoothly.