One of the most annoying plumbing issues is waking up in the morning and discovering that your toilet has been running all night. Ever since that last flush from the night before, water has continuously been filling the tank and draining into the bowl. When that happens, that might mean that your toilet flapper is to blame.

The what now? Understanding the basic function of your gravity-flush toilet can not only help you find out what is wrong, but can also give you the knowledge of how to fix it yourself. The toilet has a quite simple design, but each part in the tank plays a vital role in every proper flush.

When you flush your toilet, the only effort you put in is pulling the handle. That handle is connected to a lever which itself is connected to a chain which is then connected to the flapper. When that flapper is lifted from the flush valve, gravity pulls the water from the tank into the toilet bowl. 

After the water empties from the tank, the flapper then drops back down to create a seal over the flush valve, thus allowing the tank to fill with water once more. The rising water lifts the float ball, and when it reaches right the volume of water, the float rod then presses against the inlet valve, turning off the water.

A toilet that is constantly running may be because of a couple of reasons, and one of them is that the flapper is not creating a proper seal over the flush valve. One of those hopeful methods used to fix it is to jiggle the handle, but when an old flapper no longer seals the valve, it is time to replace it.

First step is to turn the water off at the source. There should be a shutoff valve on the wall that feeds into the tank. With the water off, flush the toilet to drain all the water. Now you can remove the old flapper.

To remove the old flapper, start with disconnecting the chain from the flush handle lever. Undo the clip and let that drop, as you will need to connect it to the new flapper. The old flapper can simply be pulled off the pegs that are on the side of the flush valve tube. It should either snap off or can be pulled off those handles.

You can then grab your new flapper and fit that on the same pegs where the old flapper was. You should also be able to see that your new flapper fits just as the one before it did, but now with the proper seal. Then reconnect the chain to the handle lever. This might take a few efforts, as you do not want the chain to be too tight or too loose.

With everything now in place, you can turn the water back on. Let the bowl fill and test your new flapper by flushing the toilet a few times, watching the flapper go up and down. The new flapper’s seal should stop the nuisance of a continuously running toilet. 

While many toilet problems can be solved with the right tools and the right knowledge, some issues might be too much for the typical homeowner. If your toilet is causing troubles you can’t fix, call Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134. At Kellermeier Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest and upfront with our customers and strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service.