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How To Replace a Toilet

Whether you are replacing a toilet with a low-flow unit to reduce water usage, due to damage to the old toilet or to change the look in your bathroom, this is a task most homeowners can do. Installing a toilet is not too difficult, although there are a fair number of steps. If everything goes smoothly, you should be able to replace a toilet in about one to two hours. Before you replace a toilet, check with your local building department to determine whether you must first obtain a permit.

Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any testing, maintenance or repairs.

Here is a brief overview of the steps to replace a toilet. We'll go into detail later.

  1. Verify that the new toilet will fit.
  2. Turn off the water
  3. Drain the toilet
  4. Disconnect the water line
  5. Separate the tank from the bowl
  6. Remove the nuts securing the bowl to the floor
  7. Install new floor bolts in the toilet flange
  8. Install the wax ring on the new toilet
  9. Set the toilet in place
  10. Level the toilet
  11. Secure the toilet
  12. Install the valve, fill tube and flapper into the tank
  13. Attach the tank to the bowl
  14. Connect and turn on the water supply
  15. Test operation and inspect for leaks
  16. Install the seat

Ready? Let's get started. The first thing to do is to make sure the new toilet will fit. Measure the distance from the toilet bowl bolts in the floor to the wall behind the toilet. In most cases it will be about 12 inches. Make certain your new toilet will fit in that space.

Turn off the water at the valve behind the toilet. Incidentally, if you need to replace this valve for some reason, doing so when the toilet is out will make your work that much easier. It is also a great opportunity to repaint the wall behind the toilet.

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