How to Remove a Hard Plastic Toilet Flapper

Is your toilet running out of water automatically? You know that situation when a toilet keeps running even after flushing —  that’s a damaged flapper at work. That sound of water leaks and phantom flushes can be annoying, especially at nights when all is quiet, and every sound is amplified.

Aside from the nuisance running toilets cause, they are financially draining. You might think that the little trickles of water that go down the drain do not mean anything until the water bill comes. 

If you’re dealing with a running toilet, you should replace the flapper. But before putting in a new one, you have to remove the old one. You’ve probably opened the toilet’s water tank and got discouraged by how technical it seems. That’s most likely the reason you are here. Not to worry! In this article, you will learn how to remove a hard plastic toilet flapper. We’ll go over some simple steps to get the job done within a few minutes.

To remove a hard plastic flapper from a toilet, you need to start by shutting off the water. After that, you will drain the water already in the tank prior to stopping the water flow. Then, unclip the flapper chain and disconnect the flapper from the overflow valve where it is attached.

Now that we’ve outlined the process, let’s go into the details.


Turn Off The Water

The first step to removing a plastic flapper is to stop the flow of water to the tank. This is done by turning the shutoff valve clockwise. The shutoff valve is usually near the floor behind the toilet. It’s pretty easy to locate. When you find it, turn it towards the right direction until it stops. 

If the valve is stuck and does not turn by hand, spray a lubricant over it and let it sit for about five minutes. A lubricant like WD-40 should do the work. Once the lubricant is set, twist the valve back and forth. This will help eradicate any stiffness and loosen it.

When working with a stiff valve, it is important that you are careful. While you need a firm hold to loosen it, you also want to handle it with care. You also shouldn’t use pliers as that could damage the valve, leading to a water leak. Some people use pliers, yes, but we don’t recommend it. Turning the valve carefully yet steadily with your hands is usually enough to loosen it. Once it starts turning, turn it till it stops so that the water supply is completely turned off.


Empty The Tank

When trying to remove a flapper from your toilet, you should get rid of water in the tank so that you can work without obstruction. Even though you’ve turned the water off, you still need to empty the one in the tank already. Open the toilet tank by lifting the lid and setting it aside. Be careful not to drop or damage the cover. Then, flush the toilet till there is no water left in the tank.

You might have to keep flushing or hold the flush handle until all the water is flushed. That depends on your toilet. Whatever method your toilet requires, ensure that all the water is flushed.


Unclip The Flapper Chain

At this point, you might want to put some rubber gloves on. While it is not compulsory, we recommend doing that for hygienic reasons. With or without your gloves, identify the flapper. Look for a large semicircular sheet of rubber over the hole that directs water from the tank into the toilet. 

Toilet flappers are usually connected to a chain attached to the toilet lever with tiny pegs on both sides of the tubular overflow valve. Now, the goal is to disconnect the flapper chain from the flush lever. So, once you get a hang of the chain, unclip it.

Looking at the image of the toilet tank below, you can see where the chain is, and how it attaches to the flapper itself.


Remove The Flapper

Now, to the destination point! Once you unclip the chain, the flapper may snap off automatically. If it doesn’t, simply pull the edges of the flapper from the pegs on the overflow valve. This will disconnect it from the valve.

Note that submerged components like flappers can be brittle as a result of prolonged exposure to hard water. So if you don’t handle it with care when taking it out, it could break into pieces since it’s plastic. While you might think it doesn’t matter if the flapper crumbles since you won’t be using it anyway, it can cause serious problems with your toilet.  If a flapper crumbles into pieces, chances are the pieces will fall down the pipe to clog it. Now, a clogged toilet is even more annoying than a running toilet, so you have to be very careful.

After removing the flapper, the chain will remain on the flapper. Removing it depends on whether the new flapper you want to fix has a chain attached. While most flappers come with chains, some don’t. But if you’re sure the new one you’re using has a chain, disconnect the existing one from the lever arm.

There you have it! Removing a hard plastic toilet flapper isn’t such a daunting task as you feared. Once you have removed it, you can go ahead to fix a new one and finally say goodbye to those annoying leaks and phantom flushes.

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