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There are toilet repairs better left to experts and there's the toilet flapper

You've been there, the toilet keeps on running and running your precious utility dollars down the sewer. What to do? Call the $80.00 an hour plumber or spend the $4-5 bucks for a flapper for the tank and spend 15 minutes getting to know the inside of the toilet tank and learn something plus save some money? I vote for the latter. We take water for granted at our economic peril. A flapper valve leaking by can cost you big time. Replace that varmint and same that money. Who knows, you might even save enough to add a bidet, wouldn't that be nice!

Here's what to do to keep the loo in tip top shape

Flapper replacement steps

1. Locate the water cutoff valve underneath the tank. This valve will extend from the wall and is almost always silver in color. Remember, rightey tightey, lefty loosey. Turn the handle to the right and shut off the water.

2. Flush the toilet. This removes the water from the tank and prepares the inside for changing out the money siphon which is allowing your tank to regularly recharge the level inside after it drains down.

3. Take the things of the top of the tank and place away from the tank, you know the magazines, flowers, extra rolls of quilted extra soft paper and the like. Remove the top by holding onto each side and lifting up. Place in an out of the way spot where it won't be stepped on. It can weigh a few pounds so expect it to not be light.

4.Identify the flapper, generally black in color on the bottom of the tank covering a whole nearly 3 inches across. Disconnect the linkage to the flush handle. This can vary. It may be a plastic chain, a metal chain, a wire of some sort or a flexible rubbery piece of plastic. Make a note of the length. Disconnect the flapper from the flush handle. Remove flapper by disconnecting ears on either side of the vertical pipe by slipping them off. Replace with the new flapper. In case the new flapper comes with a piece of plastic in between the flapper ears, carefully match your configuration to the one removed. Use the scissors to remove if not needed. Check to see that the chain or linkage that connects to the flush arm is attached. Attach to flush arm at same length as old chain or linkage. Installation is complete.

5. Check inside tank to ensure no extra materials from the repair remain. Turn on water supply, lefty loosey, and allow tank to fill. Check supply valve for any leaks and toilet tank for leaks. Flush toilet and allow to refill noting level and whether it is satisfactory. Replace tank top and items removed for repair.

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