My boarder recently moved out of the spare bedroom and bath in my house and I got a chance to get in these spaces and assess the work that needed to be done.
I spent last Saturday fixing the toilet in the bathroom. The “guts” of the toilet needed to be removed and new inners put in. The parts were the original to the toilet and were over 50 years old.
Since I have never done anything like this before, I asked a friend who has done this not only for two of his bathrooms, but also helped another friend of ours with his toilet to help me. Actually he is the plumbing, electrical and cooking expert in our group along with knowing how to sew. He can do it all! Not only that – he is one heck of a nice person – he took a few hours out of a beautiful Saturday to help me with this project.
First off, turn off the water. Below is a picture of the water shut-off valve after the work was finished, when I realized I didn’t have a “before” picture to show. The valve is the part coming out of the wall at the bottom.
Secondly, drain the tank. You do this by flushing the toilet with the water turned off. This will drain most of the water out of the tank, and since the water is turned off, it will not fill up the tank with new. Take a non-breakable glass and scoop out the majority of the water left in the tank, then soak up the remaining with a sponge or rag. Get it pretty dry, because anything left in the tank will end up on your floor when the tank is removed. In this picture the float has been twisted around to place it out of the way for water removal. Remove the flushing handle using a wrench. The yellow is the sponge I used to soak up the water.
Under the tank, attached to the water shut-off valve is the water supply (sometimes called water feed) hose. Remove this from the tank with a wrench. I replaced the water supply hose, also, so it was removed from the water shut-off valve as well.
Once the water supply hose is removed from the bottom of the tank, the fill valve inside the tank will lift right out. In my case, I decided to keep the flush valve, primarily because it was stuck onto the tank, and we were afraid that we would break the tank if we tried to take it off.
Now, there are just two (or in some toilets – three) bolts holding the tank onto the toilet. This part is easier with a second person, just so the tank does not fall and break after the second bold is unscrewed. It IS do-able with one person – just be careful. In my case, there was a bolt on either side of the toilet. Just unscrew these and pull off the tank. Below is the tank laying on its side on a board I stretched over the bowl of the toilet. I did this because the toilet seat was also broken. Yes, this is a good time to clean the area behind the toilet tank. Also, the underside of the flush valve was cleaned off.
A new fill valve was attached on the inside, and a new water supply hose was attached on the outside (they are connected). Using teflon tape (the white tape wrapped around the screw) will give a tight, water seal.
Here is a picture of the inside of the tank – still laying on its side. Here you can see the new fill valve on the left and the old flush valve on the right.
Next, we attached a new tank gasket to the area under the flush valve.
The tank was then put back onto the toilet and attach the two or three tank bolts (will all the washers, etc. – it often comes packaged together as a tank bolt set) and level the tank by slightly loosening one side or the other. Be careful not to tighten the bolts too tight – you could crack the tank.
Attach the flapper to the flush valve. In this case, the flapper is the red piece. Also, attach the fill valve hose to the flush valve.
Next, reattach the water supply hose to the water shut-off valve and turn the water back on. The tank should begin to fill up.
Flush it to make sure it works, and check areas around bolts, etc. for any moisture. If done right, nothing should leak.
Cost for parts – just over $20. I’m sure a plumber would have cost me several hundred dollars.
Check out my other “How To” blog entries here.