When your toilet can’t get rid of waste in a single flush, the problem is often that the toilet flapper closes too fast.
I faced this issue several times and, to make things worse, the cause was different on every occasion. From flapper condition to chain adjustment, several factors can influence toilet performance.
The good thing is that I can now share my toilet flapper knowledge with you. In this article, I will explain what makes the flapper close too fast and how to prevent it.
Set The Stage for Fixing the Flapper
Before you start fixing the flapper, you should set the stage to prevent water leaks and getting dirty.
Close the shut-off valve to stop the flushing toilet tank from filling with water. Now you can remove the toilet tank lid and place a bucket under it to collect the excess water.
Flush the toilet to empty the tank. For further protection, put a couple of towels under the toilet to keep everything dry and clean.
What Makes the Flapper Close Too Quickly and How to Solve It?
The toilet flapper is a rubber or plastic-based disk that lifts off its seat when it is time to flush. Once the water is out, the flapper drops into place again.
A leaky flapper can cause your toilet to run constantly, wasting gallons of water every hour. On the other hand, a flapper that closes too quickly limits the amount of water per flush and prevents your toilet from fulfilling its purpose.
Here are the reasons why your flapper is closing too fast and the best ways to fix each problem.
1 – The Flapper Is Damaged: Clean or Replace It
Like any other piece of equipment, the flapper is prone to wear and tear. Sometimes the flapper gets dirty and too heavy, which makes it close sooner than usual.
The solution is to clean the existing item or replace it with a new flapper.
To clean the current element, remove it from its seat by lifting it with the flapper chain. Gently scrub the cleaner over the rubber’s surface until you remove all dust and gunk stuck to it.
If there are some tears on your flapper, it is time to get a new flapper. Our suggestion is to purchase Fluidmaster because it’s very flexible and durable.
2 – A Float Minimizes Water Level: Adjust the Float
In case the water level in your tank is too low, the overflow pipe’s float might be set too low. There isn’t enough water in the tank when this happens, and the toilet flapper valve closes quickly.
To fix this problem, adjust the pipe by moving its float up a notch or two. Ideally, the float should be two inches below the tank lid.
3 – The Flapper Chain Is Too Loose: Shorten It
If the chain connecting the flapper valve to the flush handle is too long, it might be “over-wrapping” on its post and letting the flapper close too quickly.
You can adjust a loose flapper chain easily. Remove a few links from the chain, and it will be short enough to keep the flapper up longer.
4 – The Chain Isn’t Set Properly: Connect It to the Right Hole
A flush lever has a long arm extending deep into the tank. This handle holds the end of the chain through one of the three holes.
If the chain is too long and loose, you can connect it to the next hole on the flush lever arm. The new chain position will create additional slack and keep the flapper valve open a little bit longer.
5 – The Drainage Hole Is Clogged: Unclog It
The drainage hole allows the water from the tank to go down the pipe and into the toilet bowl.
Sometimes the drainage hole is clogged, thus blocking the flapper’s movement. As a result, the toilet can’t flush thoroughly and needs two or three flushes to remove waste.
To fix this problem, make sure to unclog the drain hole. You can use a simple tool like a screwdriver. Another option is to pour hot water mixed with baking soda. Each of these solutions should unclog the drainage hole.
6 – The Foam Float Produces Half-Flush: Remove It
Some toilets, especially the ones with modern flush systems, come with flexible foam. The foam is linked to the chain, and it enables half-flush activation to reduce water consumption.
Half-flushing makes toilet flappers close sooner. There are two ways to deal with this problem:
- Press both toilet tank buttons for full-flush
- Remove the foam float from the tank
7 – The Water Level Is Too Low: Maximize It
The overflow pipe in the toilet tank has a sign marking the water level. If it’s set too low, there isn’t enough water in the tank to flush strongly. This also means that the flapper goes down faster than you want it to.
You can fix this problem by maximizing the water level, so the flapper stays up longer and delivers a more powerful flush. To do that, adjust your tank’s overflow pipe by raising the mark about an inch or two.
As soon as you do it, you will notice that the flapper isn’t closing quickly. The result will be a more powerful flush in your toilet.
8 – Waterlogged Float: Replace It
The float in your toilet consists of air that allows it to function adequately. However, frequent flush-flushing sometimes leads to waterlogged float. It becomes too heavy and can’t keep the flapper up.
In this case, you’ll need to replace the existing item with the new Kohler flapper with float. It fits different toilet types and supports stronger flushes delivering 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
The Bottom Line
A toilet flapper closes too fast for different reasons.
Sometimes the problem lies in the flapper itself, while other issues include a low water level, half-flushing, waterlogged float, etc. What matters the most is that you can fix the problem single-handedly because it’s not as complicated as bathroom remodeling.
You only need to apply the solutions I discussed in this article and enjoy a powerful flush every time you use the restroom.
How long should a toilet flapper stay open?
It depends on the toilet type, but it should stay open long enough to allow efficient toilet flushes. That way, the flapper enables the system to clear the waste from the toilet bowl completely.
Why toilet flapper closes too soon?
There are a few common reasons. Typically, the toilet flapper closes quickly because the water level is too low, or you tend to half-flush the toilet. Other reasons include a clogged drainage hole, waterlogged float, and a damaged flapper.