How to Replace a Toilet

How to Replace a Toilet

There are many reasons to replace an old toilet: you may want a new and more efficient design that uses less water, you’re remodeling your bathroom and want all the fixtures to match, or your old toilet is quite simply too troublesome to repair. If you’re a handy do-it-yourselfer, you can do this by yourself, without calling a plumber.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Toilet?

Before you begin, take a little time to think about your reasons for replacing your toilet. Can you just repair your old one instead? There are some very good reasons for installing a new toilet. For one thing, newer models are much more efficient and use less water. This is better for the environment and also saves on water bills. Another way to tell if it’s time to replace your old toilet is when it needs too many repairs, clogs too often, or if the porcelain is cracked. Cracks in the porcelain bowl can lead to leaks which will ruin the bathroom floor.

Replacing Your Toilet in 5 Simple Steps

Once you’ve decided to replace your old toilet, you may want to do it yourself instead of calling a plumber. Before you buy your new toilet, make sure its floor measurements are the same as the old one. It will need to fit over the same screws and drain. To install the new toilet, you need to follow some simple steps.

1. Turn off the water supply

This is an important first step that many rookie plumbers tend to forget, with disastrous results.

2. Empty and disconnect the water tank

Empty the water tank by flushing it. Since the water supply is shut off, it won’t refill automatically.

3. Remove the old toilet and the wax ring

Remove the caps and the closet bolts that hold the toilet bowl to the floor. Use a rocking motion to loosen the bowl and wax ring. Lift and remove the bowl and wax ring. You may need to use a putty knife to remove the wax ring and any wax that remains on the floor.

Note: As a precaution, you can put an old rag over the drain to prevent any sewer gases from escaping into the house.

4. Install the new toilet

Fix the new wax ring to the bottom of the new toilet bowl. Remove the rag you had placed over the drain hole. Set the bowl over the drain and make sure the closet screws in the floor  are aligned properly with the footing. Press down to make a seal with the wax ring and the floor. Replace the bolts and caps on the footing of the bowl.

Note: Be careful not to tighten the bolts too far, as that can crack the bowl.

5. Reconnect the water supply and check for leaks

Once the new toilet bowl is installed, reconnect the water tank and turn the water supply back on.  Flush a few times to make sure the new toilet is working properly and there are no leaks. If there are no leaks, you can finish by caulking the base. In case you do notice leaks, first check the connections. If the problem persists, you will need to call a professional plumber for help.

When it’s time to replace your old toilet bowl, you can plan on doing this project yourself. It’s simple and doesn’t require any specialized tools or knowledge. The only reason you might need professional help is if you notice leaks after the installation is complete.

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