One of the reasons for a running toilet is a leaking toilet flapper. You need to replace a warped, corroded, or worn-out toilet flapper with a new one to fix a running toilet.
But installing an ill-fitting or incorrect toilet flapper will only worsen the problem. Therefore, you need to purchase a flapper replacement that is the right size.
Gone are the days when toilet flappers had a universal size. Nowadays, toilet flappers come in several different sizes.
So, how will you know the exact size of toilet flapper to purchase? This post will guide you to determine the size of toilet flapper you need to purchase. Read on.
What Size Toilet Flapper Do I Need?
Picking the right size of toilet flapper is not as difficult as you think. It follows a straightforward process.
In fact, it’s as simple as measuring the flush valve opening in your toilet tank. Follow these simple steps to measure your flush valve opening:
Step 1: Shut Off the Water Supply to the Toilet Tank
The flapper is located at the bottom of the toilet tank. To access and remove the flapper, you need to drain the toilet tank. So, you need to first stop the water supply into the toilet tank by turning off the water control valve.
The control valve can be a shut-off valve, a push/pull valve, or an oval-shaped knob. You will find it mounted on the wall behind the toilet bowl. It is connected to the water hose that conducts water into the toilet tank.
If you don’t turn off the valve, the toilet tank will be refilled after every flush. To turn off the control valve, turn it completely in a clockwise direction. If you have a push/pull valve, pull the knob outwards.
You can now flush the toilet to drain the toilet tank. Hold down the flush lever or push-button for as long as possible to remove water from the tank.
Step 2: Open the Tank Lid and Remove the Toilet Flapper
After draining the toilet tank, take off the tank lid to access and remove the flapper. If you have the push-button flush unit, first disconnect the duct that connects to the button on the lid. Keep the lid in a safe place to avoid damage.
If the tank still has some water in it, dry it with a towel. Otherwise, place a bucket under the tank to collect the remaining water when you pull the flapper.
Carefully remove the flapper’s lift chain from the handle lever and drop it in the tank. Also, disconnect the flapper from the two pegs on the overflow tube.
Once you’ve completely unhooked the flapper, remove it from the flush valve opening and place it on a flat surface.
Step 3: Measure the Size of the Flush Valve Opening
As said above, there is no universal size for a toilet flapper. However, the size of toilet flappers can range from two inches to four inches in size.
With either a ruler or measuring tape, measure the inside diameter of the flush valve opening.
If the flush valve measurement reads ±2 inches, you need a two-inch flapper. If the measurement reads ±3 inches, you need a three-inch flapper. However, if the reading is greater than three, get a four-inch flapper.
If it’s difficult for you to measure the flush valve opening, you can also get the flapper size by measuring the flapper itself.
Step 4: Measure the Size of the Toilet Flapper
Measuring the flapper itself is an easier method but it’s a bit tricky. If measuring the flapper itself is your best option, do it carefully to avoid buying the wrong size.
To get the flapper’s size, measure the entire diameter of the flapper or only the diameter of the cone.
If you measure the entire diameter of the flapper, you must subtract an inch from the reading to get the actual size of the toilet flapper you need.
That is, if you measure the entire diameter of the flapper as three inches, then you need a two-inch flapper. If you measure the entire diameter of the flapper as four inches, then you need a three-inch flapper
However, if you measure the diameter of the cone, that’s the actual size of the toilet flapper you need.
That is, if you measure the cone as two inches, then you need a two-inch flapper. If you measure the cone as three inches, then you need a three-inch flapper.
Measuring the flush valve opening or flapper follows easy steps that take only a few minutes. This method ensures that you’re confident about the toilet flapper size you’re purchasing and don’t have to guess.
Search for the Model of the Toilet
Some people may not want to go through the stress of measuring the flush valve opening or flapper. If that sounds like you, you can search online for the right size of flapper for your toilet.
Simply search online using the model number for the right size of flapper for your toilet. The model number is usually written inside the toilet tank or on the lid.
Don’t forget to add the manufacturer’s name when searching. Hopefully, this step will help you to pick the right size of toilet flapper you need.
Consult a Professional Plumber
Are you the very careful type? You can call on a professional plumber to get the right size of toilet flapper you need. With this option, you don’t need to be afraid of purchasing an ill-fitting toilet flapper. The plumber will take care of everything.
Types of Toilet Flapper
Once you’ve got the perfect size of toilet flapper, it’s time to pick the type of flapper that works best for your needs.
There are three types of toilet flappers:
- Tank ball
- Seat disk
Tank Ball Flappers
Tank ball toilet flappers are one type of flapper that is commonly used in toilets. As the name suggests, tank ball flappers have a round ball attached to a rod that fits into a hole in the bottom of the toilet tank.
When you flush the toilet, the ball lifts up and allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl. Once the tank is empty, the ball drops back into place, sealing the hole and preventing water from flowing back into the tank.
Tank ball flappers are relatively simple devices, but they play an important role in keeping your toilet running smoothly.
If you notice that your toilet is having trouble flushing, or if you see water starting to leak from the tank, it’s likely that you need to replace your flapper.
Luckily, this is a fairly easy do-it-yourself project that anyone can handle. With a new flapper in place, your toilet will be back to working like new in no time.
Seat Disk Flapper
A seat disk toilet flapper is a rubber or plastic disk that sits on top of the drain pipe in a toilet tank.
The flapper covers the hole in the drain so that water can build up in the tank. When you flush the toilet, the flapper lifts up and allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl.
As the water level in the bowl rises, it pushes air through the flapper and into the tank, which creates a suction that pulls the flapper back down onto the hole.
This suction keeps water from flowing out of the tank until you flush again.
Seat disk flappers are often made of materials that are more durable and less likely to warp or crack over time than the other types.
As a result, they can provide a longer-lasting solution for homeowners who are looking to reduce their water usage.
Rubber Toilet Flappers
This is the most common type of toilet flapper. They are easy to install and remove and are also the most affordable option.
Most importantly, they provide an excellent seal that prevents water from seeping through and causing costly damage.
However, rubber flappers can deteriorate over time and may need to be replaced more often than other types.
When shopping for a rubber flapper, be sure to look for one that is made of high-quality materials that will resist deterioration.
You’ll find multiple versions of rubber flappers, such as-
- Plain rubber flapper
- Flapper with a floater attached to it
- Adjustable rubber flapper that offers a control dial for the user to adjust the water flow according to requirements.
You don’t need to change your toilet flapper every time. But when you have a damaged flapper, you need to replace it with a new one of the right size. Note that there is no universal flapper.
If you’re unsure about the size of toilet flapper you need, the easy steps above will guide you.
Although most recent toilets use a three- or four-inch flapper while old toilets use a two-inch flapper, it is important to follow the steps above for accurate purchase.