DIY Tip: How to Replace a Worn-Out Toilet Flapper

Your plumbing is a complicated system with a number of different parts and features which require extensive experience to repair or replace. However, your toilet flapper isn’t one of them. Your toilet flapper is a small, specially formed piece of rubber located at the bottom of the tank portion of your toilet. Your flapper’s job is to block the drain at the bottom of your tank which allows water to flow down into the bowl below as a part of the flushing process. When you press the flush handle, the flapper lifts, allowing the water to drain. When the flush is complete, it re-closes the drain and allows the tank to refill.

However, because flappers are made from rubber, a material which wears and corrodes over time and exposure to water, they will need to be replaced periodically. If you have a toilet which constantly makes a steady dripping sound or regularly turns on and refills even though nobody has used it in some time, then there’s a good chance your flapper is the culprit. Fortunately, replacing your flapper is an extremely simple plumbing service which you can do yourself without any basic tools or even any plumbing experience at all!

Things You Will Need

The first thing you’ll need is a replacement flapper, which can be purchased for just a few dollars from your local hardware store or home improvement warehouse. Flappers are generally universal in size, but some toilets use proprietary flappers for various reasons. Take a look at your flapper and measure the sealing portion to make sure you purchase the right one. Second, you’ll need a few towels to mop up any water which may drip. And that’s it. That’s all you need to complete this job.

Removing the Old Flapper

The first step to replacing the flapper is to remove the old one. Start this process by draining your toilet tank for easy access. First, shut off the water to your toilet at the main water connection, usually found on the wall immediately behind the toilet. Turn the knob clockwise to shut it off. Second, flush your toilet to allow the water to drain out of the tank and down into the bowl. If you’ve successfully shut off your water, your tank will not refill.

Your old flapper should now be exposed, and you’ll need to disconnect it in two different ways. First, disconnect the flapper from your handle, which is usually done at a small clasp located on the chain that comes out of the top of your flapper. Second, you’ll need to remove the flapper from the hinge it’s connected to at the bottom of your toilet. Simply slide the loops off the flanges mounted on the side of your overflow tube, and your flapper should come free. Remove it from the tank and toss it in the trash.

Installing a New Flapper

Installing your new flapper involves simply reversing the process of removing the old one. Place your new flapper over the drain to make sure it seats properly and forms a tight seal around your tank drain. As long as this happens, then slide the flapper hinges back over the flanges on the overflow tube so they hold in place. Check again to make sure that the new flapper properly seats and fully covers the drain. Then connect the chain on the top of your new flapper up to handle chain. Press the handle a few times to make sure your flapper lifts properly and returns to a proper seat over the drain.

When you’re satisfied with the fit and functionality, turn the water back on at your main wall connection and allow the tank to fill. Once the tank fills, listen closely for any reoccurring sounds of dripping or leaking. If you do hear this sound, your flapper may not be seated perfectly, which means you’ll need to adjust it again. If it does seat properly, then you’re done! Replace the lid over your tank and enjoy your restored and leak-free toilet!

If you have a serious plumbing problem you need fixed, talk to the experts at Performance Air Conditioning, Electrical & Plumbing by calling (727) 877-1294 today!