How to Troubleshoot a Toilet Flapper

A defective toilet flapper doesn’t cause clogs, overflows or other major plumbing drama. But it’s often the reason behind nagging vexations like a toilet that runs constantly, or doesn’t flush effectively. The flapper’s that round rubber valve in the bottom of the toilet tank, operated by a chain attached to the flush handle. When the handle is pushed, the valve opens and allows the volume of water inside the tank to flush the bowl. The toilet flapper seems like a simple concept, yet there are a few things that can go wrong:

Toilet Runs Continuously

If you hear water running in the toilet tank nonstop, lift the lid off and see if water is running down the round overflow tube inside the tank. If so, the fill valve’s probably defective. If not, the flapper in the bottom of the tank isn’t closing for some reason. The chain that lifts it may have become tangled. Alternatively, the chain may have too much slack and a segment of the chain may be preventing the valve from sealing properly as it closes. Another likely possibility: the flapper valve is old and has disintegrated entirely.

Toilet Runs Off And On

This is usually slow seepage through a leaky flapper valve. You can test by pouring a small amount of food coloring inside the tank, then waiting an hour. If traces of color in the tank now appears in the bowl, you’ve got a worn, leaky flapper that needs replacement.

Insufficient Flushing Action

In order to effectively flush the bowl when the handle is pushed, the flapper valve should release about 80 percent of the tank volume before it closes. If it doesn’t open far enough or closes before releasing sufficient water, flushing action will be weak. The flapper chain may be too long to open the valve far enough or the flapper valve itself may be waterlogged and simply “flaps” shut too fast, before the tank has fully flushed the bowl.

For professional diagnosis and repair of toilet flapper issues, 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: “gmstockstudio/Shutterstock”

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