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Solution for a Toilet That Keeps Running

In my case it more than quadrupled in ONE MONTH!!!!

I blinked a few times, called the water company and then took my lumps.

Turns out the toilet was running due to a bad flapper valve.

Let’s just say I learned a valuable lesson: if you see water running in the bowl or have to jiggle the toilet handle then chances are good you need to replace the flapper.

Sounds easy, right? It is, but there are a few things you need to know before getting started.

So I’ll show you everything you should know about this easy project.

Here’s your supply list

  • Replacement Flapper (specific to your toilet, don’t worry I’ll show you how to pick one)
  • Wire Cutters
  • Sponge

Here’s what you’ll learn

  • How to choose a replacement flapper for your toilet and install it

I know what you’re thinking, “Jeff, I’ve done this before and this is way easy.”

And you’re correct.

But it’s my duty to show you all the cool stuff that’s out there, including toilet flappers. And I’m betting you’ll learn at least one good trick today.

Pick the right flapper valve, otherwise you’ll kick yourself

Picking the right flapper is like choosing a pair of shoes: you want a good fit.

If shoes don’t fit right you’ll get blisters. If your toilet flapper doesn’t fit your toilet will run or won’t flush properly.

good fit = good results.

One of the reasons flapper valves breakdown and get worn out is bacteria. Pick a flapper that has Microban in it.

In other posts I’ve recommended using bathroom caulk that has Microban. This is because Microban will prevent bacteria from growing on the surface.

Pick a Flapper Valve with Microban

Fluidmaster makes a ton of different kinds of flapper valves. The one above is a universal option that will fit any kind of toilet.

The 501 flapper below is especially made for older toilets (think powder blue or pink, haha) that have 3.5 gallons per flush, aka GPF.

Choose the correct flapper size
3.5 GPF Toilet Flappers

If you have a newer toilet that’s 1.6 or 1.28 GPF then you’ll want to choose Fluidmaster’s 502 flapper.

Fluidmaster Flapper for New Toilets

Each of the flappers I just described have Microban in them. Which is awesome.

Now that you know how to pick a flapper it’s time to install it. I’ve got several tips that’ll help you out 🙂

How to install a flapper valve in 8 minutes and do it the right way 

This tutorial couldn’t be more step-by-step.

I’m convinced that my 11 year old could possibly do it without me. But, then again she still complains about having to tie her shoes.

I could explain everything in pictures but frankly video is way better. So here’s my video and make sure your watch the last 5 seconds – my daughter cracks me up!!

Here’s the summary of all the steps for replacing your flapper valve

  • Hold down the toilet handle to remove most of the water from the toilet tank.
  • Remove the old flapper from the tabs on the overflow pipe and disconnect it from the toilet handle.
  • Clean the flush valve seat with a sponge.
  • Place the new flapper onto the taps of the overflow pipe. Snap the flapper into place and have sit flush on the flush valve.
  • Connect the chain clip to the hole in the toilet handle lever that’s directly above the flapper. You want about 1/2 inch of slack in the chain.
  • Turn the water back on at the shutoff valve and allow your toilet tank to fill. The water in the tank should stop so that it’s 1 inch below the overflow tube.

Once the toilet tank is full of water go ahead and flush it. Check that  the flapper smoothly flips open and closes with no problems.

Your tank should begin to fill with water. Once the water level reaches that 1 inch space below the overflow tube it should shut off and that’s when you know you’ve installed the flapper the right way.

Flush your toilet a few more times to make sure the water completely exits the bowl and you have a strong flush. If you don’t have a strong flush you can add more water to the tank by adjusting the float or if you used the Fluidmaster 502 flapper like me you can adjust it to give you a maximum flush.

What’s Next

Our other tutorial showing how to fix a running toilet has other awesome tips – and might save that call to the plumber!

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.



Running Toilet Quick Fix