Troubleshooting Toilet Issues That Can Be Traced Back to the Flapper
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Troubleshooting Toilet Issues That Can Be Traced Back to the Flapper


The flapper is the essential part inside a toilet tank that controls water flow into the bowl. If it’s not working properly, the toilet runs constantly to replace escaping water. With some toilet flapper troubleshooting tips, you can solve this irritating problem and keep your household utility costs under control.

How to Troubleshoot the Flapper

  • Take off the tank cover and place it safely out of the way.
  • Then, check the chain that leads from the toilet handle to the flapper on top of the flush valve. If it’s too short and keeping the flapper open, or too long and catching underneath against the flush valve, a simple adjustment of the chain length can be quick fix for the problem.
  • If the chain appears fine, take a close look at the closed flapper. If it’s noticeably folded or concave, it’s due for replacement.
  • Now, flush the toilet and watch to see if the flapper lifts up then closes again completely. If it doesn’t sit quite right, try adjusting the mounting ring.
  • Check the flapper’s sealing edge next. To examine it, shut off the supply valve and flush the toilet to drain the tank. Gently lift the flapper and check for mineral deposits on the underside and valve seating. If there’s buildup, use a brush or scouring pad to scrub it off.
  • If the edge looks pitted or damaged, replace the flapper.

Flapper Replacement 101

You can buy a replacement flapper at most hardware stores, and changing it out is relatively easy. Just leave the tank empty, detach the chain on the lever arm and unbolt the old flapper. Be sure to take it with you so you can choose an exact match as a replacement. To install the new flapper, simply put the new part in place, bolt it onto the flush valve pipe and attach the chain. After turning the water supply valve back on, do a test flush and adjust the chain if necessary to ensure the flapper operates smoothly.

For expert help with toilet flapper troubleshooting and replacement in your Portland home, contact Roth Heating & Cooling.

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