How To Replace a Flapper Valve

Every year, as much as eighty thousand gallons of precious water can go to waste because of leaks from toilet tanks. This is why it is important to check your toilets once in a while. One of the parts that often break down is your toilet’s flapper or flush valve. This is the device inside the tank that is in charge of flushing. This mechanism is typically made of rubber, so it has the tendency to become brittle and hard over time. If this happens, the valve will not seal properly and will cause a leak. What is the first sign that you have a defective toilet tank? If you hear that the water doesn’t stop running. To check if the toilet’s flapper valve is the part that is causing the trouble, simply turn off the toilet’s water supply and indicate the level of the water on the side of the tank using a pencil. Wait for twenty minutes then check the level again. If the level has gone down, you may have to replace your flapper or flush valve. Luckily, you can easily change this part even if you have zero plumbing know-how. This article will guide you in removing the faulty flapper valve and installing a brand new one.

  • Drain the toilet’s water tank. To be able to access the flapper valve, you will need to empty the water tank first. Turn the water supply valve clockwise until the water stops running. Don’t turn it too hard to avoid damaging this valve and causing a bigger leak. Flush the water in the toilet once. Make sure to hold down the flush handle to drain the water completely. You will notice that the water tank will empty itself but not refill. Wipe the water tank’s sides and bottom using an ordinary sponge. Leave the sponge to absorb any excess water.
  • Remove the old flapper valve. Disconnect the chain connecting the valve to the chain or lift wire. Slide the flush valve out of the overflow pipe. Check the seat for any scale deposits. You can scrub any grit on the pipe’s mouth using a piece of sand paper or steel wool.
  • Install the replacement flapper valve. Once you have taken out the old valve, clean it and take it to any hardware or home improvement store. Showing this to the salesperson will help him find you the best replacement flapper valve for your particular toilet. If you cannot find a specific type of flapper, you can purchase a universal flapper and simply trim off the parts that are not needed using a sharp utility knife. Hook the sides of the replacement flapper to the pegs inside your toilet tank. Lift it up and down to check if it moves freely.
  • Fasten the chain. Making sure that you correctly hook up the flush handle to the chain is very important. If the chain is too short, the flapper will not sit properly and cause the water in the toilet to flow continuously. If it is too long, the flapper valve will seal the overflow pipe too early. Once you have the correct chain length, trim the excess links and secure it to the toilet’s trip arm. Turn the water supply back on and let the tank refill.

Now that you have a brand new flush valve installed, the leak in your toilet should stop. If you can still hear the water running ceaselessly, check the other parts of the toilet tank. The problem could be in its float system or even the refill valve. If you have replaced everything and the leak persists, it is time to call a plumber.


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