Bob Vila Radio: Toilet Flappers

By Roseann Foley Henry | Updated May 20, 2013 11:25 AM

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Are you tired of jiggling the handle to stop your toilet from running? The noise and inconvenience drives you crazy, but the real craziness is water waste. According to the EPA, a constantly running toilet can waste upwards of 200 gallons of water every day.




Listen to BOB VILA ON TOILET FLAPPERS or read the text below:

It’s time to stop the madness. Take off the tank cover, flush once, and watch the mechanism at work. A likely culprit is the flapper, the piece of rubber that stops the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. If dirt or debris is keeping it from closing completely, clear the obstruction. If the chain is so taut that the flapper can’t close, or so slack that it gets caught in the flapper, reposition the chain on the handle arm.

Flush again. If the flapper closes, but the toilet still runs after this cycle, push down firmly on the flapper. If this stops the running, your flapper is probably worn or torn and needs to be replaced.

To replace it, shut off the water to the tank, flush the tank to drain it, and unhook the flapper from the base of the overfill pipe. Note the make and model of your toilet and bring the old flapper with you to the hardware store to make sure you buy the right one.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on bathrooms, consider:

15 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big
Bob Vila Radio: How To Replace a Shower Head
Helpful Hints for Cleaning Bathtubs