toilet, flapper, float

One of my toilets had worked fine until few days ago. When I push the handle, the flapper is lifted and water goes down into the bowl. When I release the handle, the flapper should stay up for a few seconds until most of the water has drained. But now, as soon as I release the handle, the flapper drops down and closes the opening. Thus, no water can go down. I have to hold the handle down until most of the water is gone before releasing it.
I went to Home Depot to purchase a new flapper and noticed that some of the flappers come with a float but most don't. I asked a Home Depot employee why some flappers come with a float and some don't, he couldn't tell me. I went to Lowe's, asked the same question and got the same result. They don't know.
Anybody knows? Why some flappers come with a float and others don't? What's the function of the float? If it is to hold the flapper up, shouldn't every flapper come with a float? So, when you change the flapper, you also change, not reuse, the float.
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On 12/26/2010 5:17 PM, John Smith wrote:

Most standard flappers are hollow inside and this makes them float when the the chain connected to the flush handle pulls them up high enough. Check out these sites:
http://www.toiletology.com/howtofix.shtml
http://www.masterplumber.net/how_to.htm
TDD
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1. Had you recently replaced your flapper when the problem started? 2. What do you mean by a float? Are you referring to the piece of foam on the chain or the one inside the flapper itself? 3. What kind of flapper do you have? Can you find a similar picture of it on Google image and put up a link to it?
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On Sun, 26 Dec 2010 16:23:52 -0800 (PST), Molly Brown

Kohler flappers have a slug of foam in the float. Getting the chain length right is sometimes tricky, particularly on the one piece.
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Look at the bottom of a flapper without a float. It will likely have a bulb that holds air and causes it to float on the water rather than dropping quickly.
So when you just pee, the tank empties as much as when you deliver a brown load.
And then there are others, that have an adjustment, so that if you want it to drop as soon as the flush handle is released, you move an opening to the front rather than it being able to hold the air.
Some people have used a pair of diagonals to nip a hole in that bulb at the high spot, so it'll drop. Especially apartment complex owners that want to reduce their water bills. They tell the occupants that it's being done that way so that if they have a blockage, all they have to do is release the handle instead of watching the toilet bowl continue to fill to overflowing.
My favorite flapper? The Original Korky, without the bulb. Drops like a stone when the handle is released, plenty more water when needed.
And the float, or not? It lets the flapper drop SOONER, rather than most of the water having to be gone to let the one with the bulb drop back into place. And you adjust the timing by changing the distance between float and flapper.
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On 12/26/2010 5:17 PM, John Smith wrote:

I don't know if my explanation is better than others, but I hope so. The ones with floats may be for water saving toilets. With the water saving toilets the flapper drops almost immediately after the handle is released. Without the float the flapper drops immediately after you release the handle. If you put a non-water saving flapper in a water saving toilet it will flush all the way down and use a lot more water than it is supposed to. I know mine takes about 5 seconds. That is long enough for most flushes. If you need a longer flush you have to hold the handle down. Some flappers have the adjustment that one of the other replies referred to. When I tried one with my water saving toilet it didn't work right. It was supposed to work on any toilet, but the longest I could get it to hold was to short to flush all the way down. It started working after I got the float off of the old flapper and put it on.
Main point, if you have a water saving toilet be sure to get a flapper for it, if you have an older toilet, be sure to get a flapper for that variety.
Bill
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