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  How do I know if my toilet flapper is worn-out?    

   Most black rubber toilet flappers will start to disintegrate and flake off small bits of rubber. You can check this by first removing the toilet tank lid and carefully setting it on a bath towel in a safe place away from your work area.  

   Then turn off the water to your toilet. There should be a small valve with a handle under and behind the toilet bowl. If you do not see a valve, you may have to shut off the water to the whole house. Once the water is off you need to flush the toilet to remove as much water as possible.

   Next, carefully reach down and gently grasp the flapper with your fingers, a rag, a paper towel, or some tissue, the black rubber bits will usually rub off. (I recommend using something you can throw away because the black will stain whatever it touches for a very long time). A black toilet flapper can still be worn-out or swollen without flaking. Fallow the next step for a closer look.  

   Red, White, Green, Yellow, and Clear rubber toilet flappers manufactured from a stronger more durable material in most cases will not flake off. These toilet flappers will however; warp, wear, and crack. A closer examination of these flappers is required to assess any   cracks, breaks or malformations of the original shape.  

   Follow the same procedure, remove the lid, turn off the water, and flush the toilet. This time you are going to remove the flapper from the flush valve. Some flappers connect to their flush valves with plastic clips that just snap into place. Most flush valves have a small ear on each side of the refill or overflow tube. Some require the flapper to slide down over the tube without ears or clips. However your flapper attaches, gently remove it at this time. (!! In rare instances, you can break the ears off the flush valve, the fill tube can break off the flush valve, or the flapper can break!) Please be prepared for this if it happens to you.  

   Now, with the flapper removed you can examine it more closely. It should look uniform in shape, and not twisted or oblong. There should be no cracks, breaks, or tears. The flat bottom of the flapper should be flat and not rounded or creased. The arms of the flapper need to be uniform and straight. The chain or attaching lead to the toilet handle should be secure. It is sometimes hard to tell what is wrong with a toilet flapper if have never seen a new one. All I can suggest is common sense. If anything looks wrong with your toilet flapper, it is probably bad and it is best to replace it.