Everything You Need to Know About Replacing Toilet Flappers

If you experience issues with your toilet, perhaps the time has come to replace the flapper valve.

This article will explain why flapper replacement is necessary and what could happen should you refuse to replace it.

We’ll also give you tips on choosing the right flapper and share step-by-step instructions for the replacement.

Why is Flapper Replacement Necessary?

You might need to replace the flapper valve in your toilet for a few reasons.

Drop-in toilet cleaners

First off – use drop-in toilet cleaners. Most toilet flappers are made of chemical-resistant rubber, silicone, or plastic, but they’re not completely chemical-proof.

The specific chemicals in these cleaners can cause deterioration, leading to a never-ending flush.

Additionally, the bleach or chlorine substances in automatic toilet cleaners can corrode your toilet fittings, leaving you with a brittle flapper after a year.

In-tank cleaners can also invalidate warranties if damage occurs.

High-alkaline water

The second reason you need to replace your flapper is because of high-alkaline water. The valve operates underwater, the biggest culprit for its degradation over time.

High-alkaline water can cause mechanical parts to crumble, warp, and eventually misalign with the flush valve.

Neglecting a small issue lurking inside your cistern can lead to worse problems over time, such as constantly refilling tanks or even bigger plumbing issues.


Lastly, the water in your toilet tank is an excellent environment for bacteria.

This might cause a malfunction and speed up your flapper valve’s deterioration.

To prevent such issues, you should use a flapper that inhibits bacteria growth and is resistant to hard water.

Common signs of a faulty flapper valve

  • Running toilet – A constantly running toilet may indicate that your flapper valve isn’t sealing properly. This allows water to leak from the tank into the bowl.
  • Phantom flushes – If your toilet occasionally flushes on its own, the flapper valve might be faulty.
  • Difficulty flushing – Holding the handle down for an extended period of time to get a damaged flapper valve usually causes a full flush. Even worse if it doesn’t flush enough water and you have to do it several times.

How Often Should Toilet Flappers Be Changed Out?

The key to preempting leakages is knowing when to replace your toilet flapper.

A high-quality toilet can last 5 years or more, but longevity varies depending on the water quality, maintenance efforts, and usage of in-tank cleaners.

Like other plumbing valves, flappers made from quality materials will not harden or lose their initial shape and flexibility as soon as the low-quality ones do.

Using in-tank tablets, your flapper valve can perish in less than two years. To ensure it doesn’t, use a cleanser isolated from the internal parts.

Also, water rich in chlorine, grit, and sand could also be troublesome for your flapper, because it brittle the material.

To maintain the sturdiness of your flapper, devote some time to plumbing maintenance for your inner cistern parts once every few months.

Troubleshooting flapper valve issues

  • Check the chain length – If the chain connecting the valve to the toilet handle is too long or too short, it could prevent the valve from sealing properly. Adjust the chain length as needed to ensure a proper seal.
  • Adjust the water level – If the water level in your toilet tank is too high or too low, the flapper might develop issues along the road. Adjust the water level according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Clean mineral buildup – Minerals can accumulate on the flapper valve over time, preventing it from sealing correctly. Clean the valve with a non-abrasive cleaner to remove any limescale buildup and restore proper functioning.

Tips for Choosing the Right Flapper

Right Flapper

Opting for the right flapper isn’t always straightforward.

Select one of the anti-corrosion and anti-fungal compounds to prevent mold growth when choosing a replacement.

A small £5-£10 investment can save you money and water in the long run.

Benefits of eco-friendly flapper valves

  • Water conservation – Eco-friendly flapper valves help conserve water by reducing the amount used during each flush.
  • This is a two-for-one because it helps the environment and saves homeowners money on their water bills.
  • Durability – Often made of high-quality materials, eco valves are designed to last longer than traditional flappers, so you don’t need to replace them as often.
  • Easy to install – Many eco flappers are designed with easy installation in mind. Just like other small jobs you can do by yourself, you don’t need any special tools or plumbing knowledge.

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing a Toilet Flapper

  1. Turn off your toilet’s water supply.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  3. Remove the old flapper valve from the pegs on the overflow tube.
  4. Take the old flapper to your local hardware store to compare it to the new one you’re about to get.
  5. Install the new flapper by aligning it on the pegs of the overflow tube.
  6. Turn your water supply back on and test if the toilet flushes properly.

Must-knows before replacing the flapper valve

If you have an older toilet, the flapper valve may look bulky and take up a lot of space within the tank.

It’s easy to get confused about working with this type of assembly, so if your toilet is a 90s model, you better entrust this task to the experts rather than pick the wrong part and waste hours over the toilet.

Additionally, before purchasing a new flapper, check if the lever link is in good condition.

If there are signs of wear and tear, you’re better off replacing the entire flapper body. Unlike PVC straps, stainless steel materials are durable and less vulnerable to rust and corrosion.


Following these simple steps, you can easily replace your toilet flapper valve and ensure your toilet works smoothly for years.

Replacing a toilet flapper valve is a simple task that prevents costly plumbing issues.

Clean and sanitize your toilet manually at least once a week to prevent chemical cleaner damage.

Use a flapper that inhibits bacterial growth, and when picking a replacement – choose a flapper made of quality materials.

Follow these tips and steps to keep your toilet in good condition and avoid unnecessary repair costs.

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