Troubleshooting a Toilet Flapper | Team Bob'sThe toilet flapper plays a critical role in a toilet’s ability to flush correctly, but this component can move out of adjustment or wear out. Learning the signs of a problematic flapper helps you quickly solve some common toilet problems.

The Toilet Runs Continuously

When you flush your toilet, the rubber flapper inside the tank rises to let water flow into the bowl, then falls again to create a seal that stops more water from escaping. With use, the rubber warps or stiffens and can no longer create a tight seal. When this happens, water continuously leaks into the bowl, causing the toilet to run and possibly “ghost flush” by itself.

Check for a leaky toilet flapper by adding a little food coloring to the water in the tank and waiting 10 minutes. If color shows up in the bowl, you have a leaky flapper, so you’ll need to install a new one.

A chain that’s too long is another potential cause of a running toilet. A long chain can become tangled around the flapper and prevent it from sealing. If the chain is extremely loose, readjust it so it has just a small amount of slack.

The Toilet Doesn’t Flush Effectively

A short flush that doesn’t remove waste completely and leaves little water in the bowl is typically caused by an incorrectly adjusted flapper. When the flapper’s chain is too long, water flowing out of the tank can pull the flapper down and stop the water flow too early.

To find out if this is your problem, remove the top of the tank and watch the flapper after you flush the toilet. It should start to fall only when the tank is around 80 percent empty. If it falls before that, adjust the chain so that it’s shorter by two or three links. If adjusting the chain doesn’t help, you may need to replace the flapper.

For help with a worn out toilet flapper or any other plumbing problem, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing in Grand Traverse County area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about toilet flapper troubleshooting and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

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