Your toilet, like anything else in your home, needs to be replaced over time. However, people are often unsure when a new toilet is needed or when a simple fix is possible. While toilets themselves tend to last a while, their individual parts tend to need maintenance often. Here are some signs that you may need to replace your toilet:
- Cracks in your tank
- You feel it wobble
- You have to fix it often
- Poor flush
Choosing the Right Toilet
You should not only measure the size of your current toilet, but you should also measure how close your toilet is to the nearest water supply lines. It is smart to measure from the center of the sewer drain to a sidewall, or the rough-in distance, to ensure that the toilet will fit in your space. This will help determine what shape toilet is most appropriate. If you have a smaller space, you may need a round bowl as opposed to an elongated one.
- Elongated Bowls (measure up to 31" from the wall)
- Provide greater comfort
- Take up more space in your bathroom
- Round Bowls (measure around 28" from the wall)
- Less expensive
- Better for smaller spaces
- Two-Piece Toilets (tank and bowl are separate)
- Most common type
- More economical
- Easier to find replacement parts for
- One-Piece Toilets (tank and bowl are together in one unit)
- Typically a larger upfront investment
- Saves space
- Easier to clean (less crevices)
- Wall-Hung Toilets (mounts to wall)
- May cost more to purchase and install
- Ideal for transfers from a wheelchair or walker
- Thicker wall needed for mounting
- Drain must be on wall rather than floor
- Easy to clean underneath
Before 1994, the typical toilet used around 3.5 gallons of water per flush. In an effort to conserve resources, Congress reduced the amount of water that newly manufactured toilets could flush down to 1.6 gallons per flush.
- Gravity Flush systems use the water to make flushing pressure
- One of the quietest systems
- Little to no maintenance
- Oldest technology, but timeless in its use
- Pressure Assisted systems use air to force water into the bowl
- More powerful, less likely to get clogged
- Newer technology
- Dual Flush
- Uses pressure assisted technology
- Give option for partial (1.1 gallons) or full flush (1.6 gallons)
- Helps save money without sacrificing power
How to Install a New Toilet
Remove the Old Toilet
Once you have your new toilet, you can remove your old one. Toilets are heavy, so remove the tank first and then the bowl.
- Turn off the water supply and flush the water from the tank. Remove the rest of the water from the tank with a sponge.
- Disconnect all the water supply lines from the tank. It is smart to position a bucket to catch any water remaining in the bowl. Then, unscrew the nuts on the bottom of the tank and lift the tank off the bowl. You should wear gloves in case it cracks.
- Loosen and remove the nuts that hold the toilet bowl to the floor. Lift the bowl and set it out of the way.
- Remove the old wax ring, as they cannot be reused. Be sure to stuff a rag in the hole to block sewer gases and to prevent anything from falling into the drain. You can use a putty knife to remove any excess wax on the top of the drain pipe.
- Remove the old closet bolts from the flange and make any repairs to your flange as needed.
Install the New Toilet
- Install new closet bolts by sliding them into the slots on the flange. If there are washers, tighten them down so that it is easier to align your toilet when setting it in place.
- Turn your new toilet bowl upside down. Run the wax ring under warm water to soften it, and gently press the ring onto the toilet outlet.
- Remove the rag from the drain and carefully lower the toilet bowl over the new closet bolts. Try to lower it straight down over the flange. Doing this will help prevent damage to the wax ring. Firmly press down on the bowl.
- Add the cap bases, washers and nuts to the closet bolts to secure the toilet. Alternate tightening to keep the pressure even. Be sure to not tighten them too much, as the bowl could crack. Use a hacksaw to cut off the excess bolt. Snap on the caps.
- Typically, the valve assembly is already installed in the tank. Flip the tank over to install bolts that will hold it to the bowl. Then install the rubber gasket to the base.
- Set the tank in place on the bowl. Tighten the nuts on the bolts, but but careful not to over tighten the nuts as it can crack the toilet. Ensure that the tank is level.
- Reassemble the water supply line and slowly turn on the water. Flush the toilet and check for any leaks. If you have a leak, a part may not be on straight or a bolt may be loose.
- Install the seat with a screwdriver. Set the top on the tank.