“Honey! There is a funny noise coming from the bathroom!” Ever walk by your bathroom and hear something that sounds like water running? Then you begrudgingly walk in and suddenly the sound disappears. Hmmm. Floor is dry. Faucet isn’t dripping. Hmmm. Then out of the blue an hour later, you hear it again! What can it be?
You guessed it! It’s probably your toilet.
When you push down on the flush lever on your toilet tank, a flapper or seal at the bottom of the tank raises up, exposes about a 3” hole in the bottom of the tank, the water in the tank is released, gravity takes over and down the drain everything goes! The flapper then drops back down. The fill valve starts to do its job and let water back in and before you know it, the tank is full and ready for your next flush.
Over time, the rubber that the flapper is made of slowly deteriorates. And once it gets bad enough, the water in the tank starts to seep around the now deformed flapper and runs down your drain. As that water starts going down the drain, the fill valve starts to do its job again, and here comes that funny noise from the bathroom!
So who ya gonna call…nobody! Fix it yourself!
Even if you’re a little skittish about working on plumbing, a toilet flapper can easily be replaced. And is a good place to start to hone your plumbing knowledge.
Start by simply closing the chrome supply valve that comes out of the wall under your toilet. If you don’t have one, you will have to turn off the water supply to the entire house.
With the valve off, flush the toilet, and all the water will drain out. Now before you just start tearing things out of there to bring to your local hardware store, take a look at how it all works! See what happens when that flush lever is pushed. How the flapper does what it does, how tight the chain is from the flush arm to the flapper. And one of the last things I suggest you do before you start tearing that old flapper off is to take a few pictures with your smart phone! This will help you when you go to put everything back together.
That old flapper is going to be nasty! So grab a paper towel or rag before sticking your hands down in there.
First, unhook the flapper from the flush arm. Then go for the flapper itself. Some unsnap, some unscrew, some lift off. All really quite easy and all may be able to be done without any tools. Toss it in a plastic bag and come on in. Don’t forget to bring your phone with you in case we need to see a few of your pictures. The photos will help us get you exactly what you need.
We’ll answer your questions, get you the right parts, and before you know it, it will be time to put your toilet back together. Kinda work backwards from the way you took things apart and in no time at all, it’ll be back in one piece.
And then it’s time!
Turn on the valve and watch the water fill the tank. Once it’s done, be daring, and flush that lever and away the water goes! In most cases it’s a done deal. Sometimes a little adjustment, a redo, or a quick call to your local hardware store is needed for a little advice, but soon the project will be complete.
I knew you could do it!
Dave Umber – Owner
Umber’s Do It Best Hardware
Waynedale & Georgetown North