Will toilet flapper troubleshooting solve the annoyance and expensive water waste of a running toilet? Maybe so, maybe not. The rubber flapper valve located in the bottom of the tank is a prime suspect if the toilet runs constantly or exhibits phantom flushes intermittently when nobody’s using it. These valves can be affected by deterioration from wear and tear or by the accumulation of mineral deposits. Sometimes it’s as simple as something preventing the valve from properly closing.
Toilet flapper troubleshooting can pinpoint the cause. The cure of the problem may be an easy DIY fix, or it may require the services of a qualified plumber. Following are some tips to try:
- Turn off the water to the toilet at the valve on the wall. Remove the tank lid and examine the flapper valve. A common condition is slack in the lift chain attached to the flush handle. When the chain is too loose, a segment may get sucked into the valve opening and prevent the flapper from closing completely. If the chain appears loose, take up a few links of slack at the hook on the flush handle. The right amount of slack with the valve closed is typically about 1/2 inch.
- Lift the flapper and examine the underside. Do you see a coating of mineral deposits on the valve or the tank valve seat? Try wiping the deposits away with a rag. Turn on the water to the toilet and see if the valve seals properly now.
- If mineral deposits can’t be removed or if examination reveals a deteriorated flapper, you’ll probably need to replace the flapper valve or remove mineral deposits from the valve seat.
- If the toilet runs continuously, the flapper valve may not be the problem. With the water on and the tank full, observe the round overflow tube in the tank. If water is spilling down the overflow, suspect a defective fill valve, not a bad flapper. Schedule a professional plumbing service call to replace it.
For more toilet flapper troubleshooting tips or professional repair services, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
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