Random Plumbing Terms

When applied to a fixture, connection, appliance or equipment, means having access thereto, but which first may require the removal of an access panel, door or similar obstruction. "Readily Accessible" means direct access without the necessity of removing any panel, door or similar obstruction.

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Tutorial 2: Replace a Toilet

toiletReplacing a toilet is a fairly simple project but many things can go wrong. The toilet you purchase may not fit, plumbing below the existing toilet could be damaged, or you could cause water damage during the swap out. Follow this lesson and you will be on your way to becoming a plumbing expert.

In this tutorial I will replace an existing water closet with a new fixture and I will try to cover all the things to watch out for, steps to complete, and proper project set up. Hopefully you will find it useful. If you do please let us know.
Some other related tutorials we have created that you may like, are repairing a damaged closet flange, toilet flange installation on concrete and replacing a water inlet valve on a toilet.


Tutorial Description

New ToiletThis tutorial will cover replacing an existing toilet. The water closet being replaced has had continual clogging issues over the years. The new toilet will have much better flushing capabilities and use less water.

Toilets being such an important part of every home, and used on such a regular basis they need to be confortable and work every time.

This tutorial will also cover the same procedures as a new toilet installation, where a toilet did not exist, like a new construction or remodel project.

Toilets come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, colors, and cost. You can view toilets in plumbing show rooms, hardware stores and local home center stores. If you are working with a plumber he will be able to get you access to a show room. Plumbing wholesale merchants often have showrooms at their locations. You can look in the phone book or browse online for a showroom that is local and and in your area.
They usually require that you make an appointment, this gives them plenty of time to assist you in your decisions, and they will be more prepared to answer questions you may have about your project. A plumbing showroom in a professional atmosphere is recommended over big box stores, hardware stores and discount stores.

Make sure you utilize the internet by researching the top brands. You can always find lots of information about product features and specifications at the plumbing manufactures website. A few top brands are Kohler, American Standard and Toto.

There is a wealth of online data available about toilets, and one of the most important is reviews from happy or unhappy customers. Although reviews from installers are wonderful they do not provide you with important details like how they operate after the plumber has left the jobsite.

Getting the right toilet

When shopping for a toilet look at height, flushing capability and water efficiency.

A standard toilet is around 15.5 inches from the floor to the rim of the bowl. Water closets can be purchased that are 2.5 inches taller or more. Although often used for the elderly, people rehabilitating from injuries and disabled persons, they will work great for anyone. Getting up and down is much easier on the back and legs because with a little extra height getting up takes less work and less strain on muscles.

Flushing capabilities are the most critical factor in a purchasing decision. Being tight with money when purchasing a water closet is not recommended.

Today's toilets flush with very little water. Older toilets prior to government restrictions used between 3.5 gallons and 5 gallons per flush. 20 Flushes x 3.5 gallons = 70 gallons. Wow! Thats a lot of water.

The toilet installed in this tutorial uses 1.28 gallons per flush. 20 Flushes x 1.28 gallons = 25.6 gallons. Thats a difference of 44.4 gallons, that is a nice saving on water. In many areas the water you use is calculated into the sewer bill. In these areas a family would see great returns on updating their existing fixtures. (Not just water closets.)


Water Closet Replacement

Its time to get to work on replacing this toilet. So lets get started by preparing for the job.

Preparation can save time and money. I like to lay out all the parts and my tools onto a piece of cardboard, rag, sheet, towel, tarp or other surface. This way I am ready and I can expect less surprises. Like a missing or forgotten tool that may be critical in completing the project.

Preparing for removal of the existing toilet

One important thing to remember is that when replacing a toilet you will come in contact with clean and dirty water. So rubber gloves are recommended. Always have lots of towels or rags and garbage bags. A large garbage bag works great for placing a dirty toilet on. If the existing toilet is being thrown away or recycled then placing it in a garbage bag after lifting it from the flange will contain the water as its being carried through the residence.


You will need a few parts and some materials that will be thrown away.

  • New wax rings. Its best to buy three. One extra thick, one regular and one without a horn. (The horn is a piece of plastic used to guide the wax ring into the center of the closet flange.)
  • New closet bolts.
  • New toilet supply line. Its best to replace this while you are working on the toilet. These can fail at the worse times so its best to buy a new one. Well worth the cost.
  • Tarp or plastic.
  • Plastic garbage bags.
  • Shims made of wood or rubber. These will be used if the floor is not perfectly smooth. This is often the case when installing on concrete, tile or stone surfaces.
  • Caulking (Water clean up type) This will be used to seal around 99% of the toilet base.



Plumbing Plumbing Tips

Hot Tank Maintenance Draining and flushing of your hot water tank once a year can increase the life of the tank and provide you with cleaner hot water. The exact procedure can be found in our Plumbing Information area.