Fixing a Leaky Toilet Flapper

1-2 hours
Fixing a Leaky Toilet Flapper

A toilet flapper is the part of your toilet that seals the opening between the tank and the toilet bowl. When the toilet is flushed, a rubber tank ball or flapper lifts out of the way, and water rushes into the bowl. An old, worn tank ball or flapper is prone to leaks and the best way to fix it is to replace it. This guide will teach you how to change out your flapper.

Turn Off the Water and Empty the Tank
Turn Off Water Empty Tank - Fixing Leaky Toilet Flapper

Turn off the water supply at the wall and slush the toilet. Hold the handle down to allow as much water as possible out of the tank. Adjust the tank ball so it is directly over the flush valve. The tank ball has a guide arm that can be loosened with a screwdriver so that the tank ball can be repositioned. Some tank balls have a ball guide that helps seat the tank ball into the flush valve. Make sure these parts are lined up and working smoothly.

Replace the Tank Ball
Replace the Tank Ball - Fixing Leaky Toilet Flapper

Replace the tank ball if it is cracked or worn. Tank balls have a threaded fitting that screw onto the lift wire. Clean the opening of the flush valve using emery cloth (for brass valves) or a scrub pad (for plastic valves).

Replacing the Flapper
Replacing the Flapper - Fixing Leaky Toilet Flapper

Replace the flapper if it is cracked or worn. Flappers come in a variety of sizes so take your old flapper with you to your local store. Flappers are usually attached to the small lugs on the sides of the overflow pipe. If the replacement flapper you purchase has a plastic or molded ring between its arms, simply remove or cut this piece off. Turn the water back on slowly. Once the tank has completely filled look inside the bowl to make sure no leaks exist.