Upgrading Your Toilet with Ease

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Upgrading toilets has become a common practice as we take note of a need to conserve water. In recent years, toilets have evolved to use far less water than they did in years past, specifically prior to 1994. Whether it is in the interest of water conservation or because your old toilet is no longer up to snuff, there will likely come a time in your life when a new toilet is in the cards. While replacing it is not a fun task, there are some steps you can follow to minimize the potential for muss and fuss.

Photo: Bullseye Plumbing

The first step in replacing an old toilet is to turn off the water flow. Back behind the toilet, there is a valve; this should be turned into the off position, ceasing the flow of water to your toilet tank. Once the water supply is no longer active, give the toilet a flush, being sure to hold the handle down until the water drains from the tank and bowl. This will get most of the water out of the toilet, but a towel or sponge can be used to remove any water remaining. Simply remove the tank topper and carefully set it aside, then sop remaining water up with a towel and ring that towel out, repeating if necessary until the water is gone.

Photo: Fast Help Services

Now that the water has been removed, it is time to disconnect the supply line that transports water from the source to the tank. Once the water line has been uneventfully disconnected, look to the floor and begin disconnecting the flange bolts. These should be completely unscrewed with the washers removed as part of the process. When the flange bolts are out of the way, give your toilet a slight wobble to loosen the wax gasket sealing the toilet the drain flange. As you feel this bond break free, lift the toilet away carefully, being careful to protect your back as you work (you may wish to separate the tank from the bowl prior to lifting depending on your personal preferences). With your old toilet out of the way, the old wax will need to be scraped away. Tape or a rag should be placed over the flange to prevent entry of sewer gasses into your home while you finalize preparations for the placement of your new toilet.

Photo: DIY Advice

Once your new toilet is ready to go, flange bolts will then need to be addressed; check for signs of rust or corrosion and replace flange bolts that are too far gone. A new wax ring will then need to be securely pressed into place.When these tasks are completed, remove the tape or rag from the drain and lift your new toilet into position. Upon properly positioning the bowl, push down to ensure a good, tight bond is created between the toilet and the flange. You will then need to secure the bowl with washers and nuts affixed to flange bolts. Give the toilet a slight wobble; it should not move, but if it does, extra tightening may be necessary. This should be done carefully as over tightening can result in cracks in the bowl.

Photo: Terry Love

Photo: DIY Network

Photo: Terry's Plumbing

When the bowl is secure, the tank will need to be attached (again, you may wish to move the toilet with or without the tank attached to the bowl). Be sure to take your time in doing this and use all of the parts provided, such as rubber gaskets, bolts, and supply lines. Any forgotten parts can lead to a wet, messy surprise when the water is turned back on, so be sure to be thorough. Once you are certain all of your components are in place, turn the water supply back on and allow the toilet to fill. Check all of your fittings and connections for leaks and ensure there is no water escaping from points where it should not be. If you cannot detect leaks, your new toilet has been successfully installed and is ready to serve you when nature calls.

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