Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Flap Over Toilet Flappers.

Normally, I'm a laid back husband and spouse when I come home from work. However, the one thing that can turn me from laid back to bristling and snorting is the sound of a running toilet. From my earlier posts, dear reader, you know that wasting water is anathema and we've went to a more efficient water softener, changed shower heads, and replaced the toilet in the hallway bath with a more efficient one (as if I had a choice, because the government has mandated low water use on these and shower heads). I bought an American Standard model at Lowes and this one was supposed to flush as well with 1.6 gallons as the one that used over 5 gallons to flush. I learned right away that the innards supplied in any toilet today are cheap and will hang up, causing leaks. The problem is with the flapper that seals against the flush valve and the flush handle. The offset flush handle on an American Standard can hang up and hold the flapper open. Likewise, a chain operated flapper can bind up against parts on itself and also hold the flapper open. If some numbkeg flushes the toilet and doesn't wait for the flapper to close, you can waste over 100 gallons an hour. In an area where you use a water softener, this also wastes salt and even more water to regenerate the softener.

Complaining to your children and spouse is never the answer, because instead of consideration, you'll likely have excuses piled upon arguments. Believe me, try this sometime. Everytime you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at you. Just suck it up, get in the truck and head to the hardware store. This is assuming you don't need to take the entire toilet apart, but just to replace the flapper and flush handle. For the American Standard toilet, you'll need ACE part number 4209052 for the handle and part number 43749 for the flapper or equivalent. The reason for the offset handle is that it will work for the flapper and properly fit the tank. The blue PVC flapper with the molded pull strap is the most user friendly to put in, resists chlorine (it is not chlorine proof, so no bleach blocks. STOP USING THEM!) and is the most resistant to hanging up. I've heard from many a plumber that Mansfield valves are the best thing since canned bread, but these require removing the tank and from my experience are not as user friendly to install. Unless you have a Niagra toilet, go ahead and stick with what's in there. The directions on the package should suffice, but with the flapper, pull it tight enough so that you can raise it with the handle. As long as the pull strap doesn't catch on anything inside the tank, you're golden. If not, tighten it up a few notches and try again. Go ahead and do a few test flushes and if so inclined, peek in on it after it's used to make sure it's right. As long as these aren't exposed to bleach or other in tank cleaners, they should last a few years. Most flappers usually last about 3 to 5 years before they degrade and leak. Maranatha!

1 comment:

Walter Grace said...

Korky also makes a really good fill valve and flapper valve for older toilets still in use. I use Korky for any fill valve because they're reliable and have no exposed parts.