Published on January 19th, 2015 | by Peter Young


How To Replace Your Toilet’s Flapper Valve


If you’re trying to think of ways to save money and water around your home, try looking in the tank of your toilets. I know, it’s not the most logical spot, but if left un-checked a constantly running toilet can add a substantial amount of money to your monthly water bill (the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average American household leaks 10,000 gallons per year). One of the most common reasons a toilet will continually run is a worn out flapper valve. Fortunately, replacing this part of your toilet is cheap and doesn’t require any technical skill to do. Just follow these steps:

Things you’ll need for the job:

  • New toilet flapper
  • Rag

How to replace your toilet’s flapper

Before continuing with the removal and installation of your new flapper valve, be sure to watch this quick video to familiarize yourself with the process:

1. Turn off the water to your toilet. The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off the supply of water to your toilet. There should be a knob located near the base of the toilet, with a supply line that runs from it to the back of the toilet tank. Simply the turn the valve to the right until it’s finger tight.

2. Flush the toilet. Now, flush the toilet and drain the water from both the toilet tank and the bowl. Doing so will make replacing the flapper valve much easier and will prevent you from spilling any toilet water.

3. Remove the lid from the back of the toilet. Use both hands to gently lift up and remove the lid that sits on top of the toilet tank. Once removed, set it to the side.

4. Remove the old, worn out flapper valve. Now that you’ve drained the water from your toilet, it’s time to remove the old worn out flapper. In most cases the flapper valve will be made of a flexible rubber and is attached to a couple of pegs on a central column in the back of the toilet. Simply slide the two arms off of the pegs. If your flapper valve is made of a stiff plastic, gently lift up on the arms and the flapper valve should click out of place. The flapper valve will also be attached to an arm in the back of the toilet by a small metal chain. Simply remove the clip that attaches the chain to the arm.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 11.14.22 AM

5. Clean the flapper valve’s seat. Next, you’ll want to ensure that your flapper valve will have a solid seal. To do this, take a rag and wipe away any reside that may have accumulated on the seat for the flapper valve.

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6. Install the new flapper valve. To install the new flapper valve all you’ll have to do is reconnect the chain (which should have come with your new flapper valve) and clip the arms of the valve back into place.

7. Turn on the water and test the new flapper valve. Now all you have to do is test the valve to ensure that it’s working properly. Turn on the water to the toilet by turning the control valve to the left and watch as both the toilet bowl and tank fill up. If after filling both the bowl and tank the water stops running, and you see no drop in water level in the toilet tank, than you’ve installed your new flapper valve successfully! Just to be sure, go ahead and give the toilet a flush. You’ll also want to watch the chain that’s connected to the arm in the back of the toilet as it’s flushing. If the chain is too long it can get caught and cause the toilet to run continually. If you experience this problem, try shortening the length of the chain.

8. Place the lid on the back of the toilet. Simply replace the lid, and you’re all done.

If you’re looking for more ways to save water and money around your home, be sure to check out our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Photos are courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons (Toilet Flapper)

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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