Over time, all plumbing parts wear out causing all kinds of leaks and problems. In the case of toilet flappers, the rubber part can easily become hard and brittle by standing in water for so long. A worn flapper valves (little part at the bottom of the toilet tank) can cause water to trickle through your toilet even when you have not flushed for several minutes or hours. When that happens, you could jiggle the handle to see whether it stops trickling - if not, your flapper valve needs to be replaced as it does not provide the best seal.
However, toilet flapper valves can cause leaks that are too slow to see with the naked eye. Use this method to test whether your toilet flapper valve is leaking:
1. Lift the lid of your toilet tank.
2. Drop a small capful of blue food coloring into the tank and leave it to stand (don't flush!) for about 20 minutes.
3. Lift the toilet seat and look into the bowl. If the water is blue, you need to replace our flapper valve.
Changing the toilet flapper valve is a quick quick and won't cost more than about $5. Here's how:
Shut off the supply valve. If you're worried that is corroded, or if it is stuck, rather turn off your main water supply.
Remove the flapper from the assembly by either snapping it off or by removing the machine screw (depending on the make and model). Some models have a chain that you will have to unhinge from the rod leading to the toilet handle.
Try to find a flapper that was made for your toilet.
Replace the old flapper with the new one, taking care not to break off the plastic pin.
Expert Tip: Smooth out any rough bits around the lip of your new valve seat to ensure a watertight seal between the seat and the flapper using a piece of emery cloth.
Once you have put the flapper in place, hook the ears to the flush valve and then connect the chain after making any adjustments. Ensure that the chain offers enough leeway for the flapper to rest firmly in place, but short enough that it doesn't get caught under the flapper when the water runs through.
Replace the lid on the tank, turn on the water supply and then flush a couple of times to ensure that your toilet flapper is no longer leaking.
While this job is simple enough for any expert DIYer, you may not feel comfortable taking it on. Also, if your common is not very common, you may have difficulty finding the right flapper valve. Anta Plumbing has a large inventory of common and less-common plumbing parts, and we have plenty experience in fixing toilet flapper valves. Give us a call if you need help.