DIY Plumbing Tips to Avoid Calling a Plumber – Part 3
One of the most common calls we receive is about toilets running constantly, wasting water and keeping people awake at night. This can be caused by many things but the most likely culprit is your toilet flapper. This small part is easily changed by most people and costs anywhere from $5 to $15 dollars at any hardware store. To have a plumber come to your home and change this part can be expensive the highest we have heard of in Calgary was close to $400!
All of that being said not all flappers are the same. Dual flush toilets work on a completely different kind of flushing system and certain brands have their own designs that are hard to find and require going to the manufacturer or a plumbing wholesaler. The biggest offenders of these special designs are Kholer, American Standard, and Toto. Most of these brands feature larger diameter flappers to try and provide a little more power to their flush to make up for new low water consumption requirements. For these brands you will need to either contact your plumber for the part. This DIY post focuses on the brands that are found in about 70% of bathrooms.
- First, turn the water off to the toilet. If your toilet shut off won’t budge and your main house shut off will not work call a plumber. Without the proper tools and knowledge trying to force the shut off could result in snapping the valve and turning a simple repair into a flood, causing much more damage to your home than just replacing the valve.
- Take off the lid to your toilet tank.
- Hold the flush lever down to drain the tank of as much water as possible. *The water must be turned off before this step!!*
- Remove the toilet flapper’s chain from the flush lever and pull the flapper rubber tabs off of the flush tube (large pipe in the center of the toilet tank).
- To avoid multiple trips to the store, take this flapper with you to ensure you are getting the correct flapper for your toilet. Too many times we have seen when “universal” doesn’t necessarily mean “universal”. Take this opportunity to also pick up a toilet dye tab.
- Reverse steps 4 – 1 to install the new flapper. The chain on the new flapper will likely need to be adjusted, leave a little bit of slack but not too much and cut off any excess chain.
There you have it! Once the new flapper is in and the water is back on place a toilet dye tab in the tank and allow it to dissolve completely. Return in 15 minutes to see if any of the dye has leaked into the toilet bowl. If you find dye in the bowl the toilets flush valve is likely warped and will need to be replaced which should be done by a plumber. If the toilet continues to run after attempting the flapper it may require other parts.
Hopefully everything goes smoothly. If not, we are always here to give you a hand!
Watch for our How To video series coming soon