Troubleshoot the Flapper to Remedy Running Toilet Issues

Toilet flapper troubleshooting can help eliminate one of life’s little annoyances—the running toilet, one of your home’s biggest water-wasters. The flapper is a round rubber valve in the bottom of the toilet tank, operated by a lift chain attached to the flush handle. When the handle is pushed, the flapper opens and induces flushing action in the toilet bowl. When the flapper closes, the tank refills with water and awaits the next flush.

A continuously running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. If the flapper leak is merely minor seepage, you could still lose 50 gallons of water each day. While these toilet flapper troubleshooting tips may reveal a simple DIY fix, in some cases you’ll need the services of a qualified plumber to resolve the problem.

Check Out the Chain

A lift chain that’s too slack may allow a segment to be sucked into the tank valve opening, preventing the flapper from sealing. Or a slack chain may tangle and hold the flapper wide open. Slack in the lift chain should be about 1/2-inch when the flapper is shut. Take up the slack, if necessary, where the chain hooks to the flush handle and see if it resolves the problem.

Examine the Flapper

Turn off the water supply at the valve behind the toilet. Reach into the tank and lift the flapper valve on its hinge. Can you see a scummy accumulation of mineral deposits on the underside? Try wiping it away with a rag. Also wipe any deposits off the tank valve opening. Note the condition of the flapper. Is it worn or deteriorating? It may even fall apart in your fingers. If cleaning off deposits doesn’t restore proper sealing after the water is turned back on, or if the valve is disintegrating from age, you’ll need a professional plumber to replace the flapper.

What If?

If your chain and flapper appear flawless and leakage persists, it’s probably a defective fill valve—another job for a qualified plumber.

When toilet flapper troubleshooting reveals the need for a plumbing professional in San Antonio, contact Beyer Boys.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Raywoo/Shutterstock”

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