Your toilet has many parts, but the part known as the flapper can cause the most common problems that occur in toilets, either a running toilet, or a toilet that does not flush fully.
When your toilet is running this can also be known as endless water cycling. It is not only wasteful but also very noisy and quite annoying. When your toilet does not flush fully, it is a result of a toilet flapper closing too quickly.
Luckily, this is a very simple fix. If the flapper of your toilet is closing too quickly, you should first start by removing the lid of your toilet. Take it off of the tank, and check the chain of your flapper. Yoru should then adjust the chain. If this does not work, then you may need to replace the flapper valve.
What Is a Flapper?
The flapper in your toilet is inside of your tank. When you flush your toilet, the flapper drains water from the tank into the bowl and helps the water go down. There are many different types of toilet flappers. The three main types are tank ball, seat disk (or disc), and rubber flapper.
Flappers are a very inexpensive piece of equipment and typically cost less than $10. If your toilet is doing a phantom flush, then you would be better to just replace it rather than try and repair it. However, if your flapper is not veery old, then you may be able to just clean the flapper and end up flushing the valve.
How to Clean a Flapper
Cleaning a flapper is simple, rub the toilet flapper down with scouring powder and a sponge. This should remove all the mold and scale that may have collected on it. You should do this on the rim of the flush valve as well.
If it is still not fully clean, run a bead of silicone caulk around the rim of the valve. This can create a better seal. Be sure to allow the caulk to set for at least eight hours before you set the flapper on it and fill the tank.
What is a Phantom Flusher?
If you ever hear your toilet filling the middle of the night, it means your toilet fill valve is switching on by itself. This may often happen in the middle of the night and is called a phantom flush. The number one reason a phantom flush occurs is due to a leaking flapper.
Whether the problem is that the flapper chain is too short, or it is worn out, this problem can be annoying and needs to be fixed.
Adjust the Flapper Chain
The first thing you should do when attempting to stop your toilet flapper from closing too quickly is to adjust the flapper chain by making it longer or shorter.
Start doing this by removing the lid from your toilet.
Take a piece of cardboard and place your lid on top of the cardboard. This will help you to avoid getting your floor wet. Look at all of the parts in your tank. You should see the flushing handle and flapper chain.
Your flushing handle should be connected to a long metal or plastic handle arm that connects to the flapper chain.
Take the chain off of the handle arm. This is easy to do, simply reach into the tank and remove the chain link that connects the handle to the flapper. You will find a small opening on this link where you can easily remove it.
Hook a paperclip to the handle arm, and then open up the paperclip until it is straight. Bend the clip into a circle and be sure to leave a small opening on it.
Hook the circle into the end of the handle arm where the chain once was. Connect the chain to the paper clip and attach a link on the chain to the paper clip. Do this by placing it into the open end. Squeeze the sides of the paperclip and tighten it.
Now, flush the toilet and check how tight the chain is. Be sure to press down fully on the toilet handle. When flushing the toilet, the chain should bring the flapper up high so that the toilet can fully flush. If it does not fully flush, or does so too quickly, then you need to adjust the paperclip location until the chain is at the exact amount of tightness.
Replace Your Toilet Flapper Valve
In some cases, you may need to replace your toilet flapper valve. This needs to be done if you cannot fix it and stop it from opening too quickly.
The first step is to drain as much water from the tank as possible. Do this by removing the tank lid, and turning the shut-off valve clockwise. This will turn it off. Press the toilet handle down until there is no more water inside the tank.
At this point, you will need to remove all of the water that is left in the tank. Although it might seem that you have, there still may be a bit left. Get a towel and a sponge and use this to wipe all the water from the tank. Keep wiping it until the water is all out.
Located the water supply hose. Once you find this, you need to loosen the nuts on the base of the water supply valve. This valve is connected to the flapper, and can be done by using an adjustable crescent wrench. Pull out the water supply hose and set it aside.
Remove the current flapper valve. Do this by removing the chain and taking the flapper off the flush valve (this is the piece the supply tube was connected to). Put on a new chain and remove the old one from the lever arm.
How do I fix a phantom flusher?
You can fix a phantom flusher by turning off the water and taking the flapper off its mounting. Do this by disengaging its rubber ears from the overflow tube. You can slide it up and off after disengaging the flapper chain. Replace it with a universal flapper.
How will I know if I have a flapper leak?
Although some flapper leaks are very slow and hard to notice, you can pour some food coloring in the tank, and not use the toilet for a few hours. If the bowl water does not stay the same color as the food coloring, but rather becomes the tank water, you will know you have a flapper leak.
Attach Your New Flapper to the Flush Valve
After removing your toilet flapper valve, you can attach the new flapper to the flush valve. Do this by connecting the chain to the top, and connect the remaining end to the handle arm.
Be sure that all the rough edges are smooth around the lip of the flapper valve. You will find this under the flapper. Use an emergy cloth to create a watertight seal.
Now, reattach the water supply hose. Turn the water back on, by turning it counterclockwise and wait for the toilet to fill up. Now attach your new flapper to the flush valve. Finally, replace the lid and you should be good to go.