toilet repair (for complete novice)

I'm planning on taking the momentus step of attempting to repair our toilet. I'm hoping that you can give me a few hints.
The problem: The toilet starts running for a few moments every so often. I've looked in the tank and it appears that the "flapper" is not seating properly and instead is a little askew. If I push it over a little, it fixes it for a day or two. Do I need to replace the flapper or is there some quickie, easy fix-it solution?
Also appreciate some suggestions on web sites that might lead me through repairs.
Thanks!
Sandy
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041116 0831 - sandy posted:

Turn off the valve to the toilet and then flush the toilet, holding the flush handle on until most of the water is drained out of the tank. Then fiddle with the closing valve flapper and see how it settles onto the hole. You can probably make an adjustment to it to make it work better. It could probably use a little cleaning also, with a paper towel or whatever, and the hole it seats onto also.
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WRONG! You can determine if the flapper (flush valve) is leaking by putting some food coloring in the tank, then see if it shows up in the bowl. If it does, replace the flapper. Don't screw around trying to mend it when a $4.00 part can fix it for years.

hole.
could
the
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Even if he replaces it, the hole it sits on should be cleaned and be sure not to drop anything into it by mistake or you will need a new toilet quite possibly.

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If you've never done a thing to the toilet over the years, I'd go to Home Depot and get one of their Fluidmaster kits that contain everything you need to rebuild the whole innards. Kit contains new flush valve, flapper valve, gaskets, tank bolts and handle. While you're in there might as well do the whole show for about $17.00. Assuming you're tank bolts aren't rusted to death, the whole deal might take an hour.
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Joe Fabeitz wrote:

I don't think it was "wrong" Frankly I doubt if there is much use to using food dye to find out if it is leaking, after all the OP provided clear evidence that it is likely just that. I would tend to agree that it may well be better to buy a new flapper, making sure to get the right one for that toilet. As you noted they are not expensive and it is not worth my time. However the OP may find that he still needs to fiddle with it to get a good seal and he should carefully clean the seat.

--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I know. It just feels good to yell WRONG once in a while....no...once a day, ya, that's it...sometimes..twice a day.

Then
and
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As seen on Yahoo; 1] A year, a leaky toilet can waste over 22,000 gallons of water. 2] Did you know that as much as 80,000 gallons of water can be wasted each year by an undetected toilet tank leak? 3] To celebrate Toilet Repair Month in Ocober, Fluidmaster ran a contest for the Funniest Toilet Repair Story 4] http://www.fluidmaster.com/pr/trm_winner.html
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Well, Sandy, it's time for class to start in Toiletology 101 http://www.toiletology.com/index.shtml

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