Walking into my bathroom one Sunday morning, I was met with the sound of water flowing into my toilet bowl. Your toilet holds water in its tank until you flush. The process of flushing involves releasing water from your tank into the toilet bowl. A plastic/rubber seal called the toilet flapper, located in your tank, controls the flow of water. Releasing your flush should lead to the flapper blocking the supply of water to your toilet bowl by sealing the outflow opening. A constant stream of water into your toilet bowl points to a faulty toilet flapper, which you’ll need to replace.
Flappers remain submerged in water throughout. As a result, over time, water damage to your flapper is inevitable. If you have a rubber flapper, it becomes soft and breaks. Similarly, the plastic flapper can crack and break too. In order for your toilet to flush properly, the installation of your flapper assembly needs to be correct. The assembly has the following parts –
Typically made of rubber, it acts as a seal against the flush valve to allow and restrict the flow of water into the toilet bowl. The flapper’s opening initiates the flushing process, and its closing stops the flush and allows the toilet tank to re-fill.
Flush Valve –
It is the opening at the bottom of the toilet tank through which water flows into the toilet bowl. The flapper is placed above this valve, and during rest, it covers it completely to restrict any leakage of water from the tank.
Flush Handle and Lever –
Commonly known as the “flush,” it includes the handle on the exterior of the toilet tank and the assembly on the interior, which controls the movement of the flapper. If you have a broken flush handle, we advise replacing it along with your flapper.
Average Cost To Replace A Toilet Flapper
You should expect to spend between $20-$30 to replace your toilet flapper.
You’ll need roughly an hour to replace your toilet flapper. Be patient while attaching the flapper chain to the flush lever. The connection needs to be firm but not stiff for the flapper to move freely.
Tools & Materials
Removing Your Old Flapper
- Firstly, shut off the main water valves located beside your toilet. Closing the valves cuts off the water supply to your toilet tank.
- Flush your toilet to drain the tank. You might need to flush multiple times to drain your tank completely.
- Your existing flapper will be attached to the flush handle lever on the side of your toilet tank.
- Your flapper will have a clip at the end of its chain, which connects to the holes on your flush handle lever.
- Press on the clip to detach it from the lever. If the chain is in good condition, you can re-use it with your new flapper. Conversely, if the chain is damaged or broken, discard it.
- There will be two pegs extending sideways from the bottom of the lever. Remove your flapper’s ear’s from these pegs.
- If you have a hard-plastic flapper, the ears will snap off the pegs. Conversely, soft-plastic ears will slide off the pegs.
Installing The New Flapper
Flappers typically come with two installation options –
- Ring installation
- Ear installation
If the bottom of your flush handle lever has pegs extending from it, slide your flapper ears onto these pegs.
Conversely, if you choose to use the ring, slide it over the overflow tube to attach your flapper above the toilet tank opening.
Furthermore, you will need to attach the chain to the flush handle lever.
Using the clip at the end of the chain, attach it at the appropriate height on the lever. When in rest, the chain should be firm but not tight.
Press on your flush to check the connections between the lever and your flapper.
The best way to check if your connections are firm and installed properly is to let the toilet tank fill with water and flush. Open your main water valves and wait for the tank to fill completely.
Lastly, flush your tank and observe if the connections are firm. The flapper should stay open until your press on the flush and close the valve when let go.
In case your chain obstructs your flapper or the flapper does not close the tank outlet completely, you will need to review your connections.
Frequently Asked Questions: How To Replace Toilet Flapper
Can an old chain be used on a new flapper?
We advise using a new chain each time you replace your flapper to ensure durability and avoid future breaks.
How long do toilet flappers last?
On average flappers are durable for 4-5 years.