Does your toilet make constant dripping noises when it’s not being used? Or do you hear the sound of the tank filling up throughout the day, even when it hasn’t been flushed? The most likely explanation is that your toilet flapper is leaking. Today we’re going to talk about what a toilet flapper is, how it can start leaking and what you should do when you encounter this common problem in your home!

What is the toilet flapper?

When you take off the lid to your toilet’s tank, you’ll notice a rubber or plastic piece that’s covering a section of the floor of the tank. This piece is attached to the chain that lifts up and down when someone pushes the lever to flush the toilet. Say hello to the toilet flapper!

The purpose of the toilet flapper is to open up and allow the water in the tank to drain down into the toilet bowl every time that the toilet is flushed. After enough water has been released, it seals back up and allows the tank to fill back up with water.

How can the flapper cause your toilet to start leaking?

Over time, toilet flappers can begin to degrade due to normal wear-and-tear. In addition, if you use chemical disinfectants in your toilet tank, those chemicals can eat away at the flapper and prevent it from sealing up properly.

If your toilet flapper is worn out, it won’t be able to seal up the bottom of your toilet tank properly. When this happens, water from the tank will seep through the openings in the flapper and drip down into the bowl. After enough water has dripped out, the tank will have to refill itself with water even though it hasn’t been flushed. What a waste of water!

What should you do if your toilet flapper is leaking?

Some people choose to replace toilet flappers on their own by buying a new flapper from the hardware store. Make sure you purchase the correct part, as some toilets require different sized or slightly different shaped flappers. For example, new Kohler toilets have a cylindrical-shaped part. In order to do this, you’ll need:

  • Turn off the water supply to the toilet
  • Drain the tank
  • Unhook the chain from the tank
  • Disconnect the old flapper
  • Clean up the seal under the flapper
  • Install the new flapper and reattach the chain

If you choose to do this on your own, it’s important that the chain and flapper are reattached correctly with the right amount of slack in order for the toilet to be able to flush properly again.

If you’d rather not perform this repair on your own, or if you’re nervous about doing it the right way, contact Cabrillo! We’d be happy to replace that leaking toilet flapper for you and we guarantee that it will be done the right way.

If you have any questions about your toilet flapper leaking, or if you’d like a plumbing system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.