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Installing a New Toilet

November 30 2010

If you’re tired of jiggling the handle and you wait eons for the tank to refill, or you want to reduce your water bill, it’s time to buy a new toilet.

When is buying new better than repairing? Simply look online at available models and then check prices against buying parts and/or hiring a plumber to come fix your toilet.

Remember, a new toilet gives you an opportunity to buy a “high efficiency” toilet which uses an average 1.3 gallons per flush. This can save you $50 to $100 a year over old 7 GPF models, according to GreenAndSave.com.  Also, federal tax credits are available until December 31, 2010 for 30% of the cost of the equipment, up to $1,500, so be sure to see if the toilet you select qualifies.

1) Select a toilet that fits the space your old one is vacating, especially if you’ve got tile floors yhou don’t want to replace. Take measurements of where the toilet is to make sure the new unit will have enough room.  If you’re totally remodeling and want a new model, make sure there is enough leg and head room for occupants to use the facility comfortably. 
Your toilet should be placed to allow a 30” area for the toilet, with 24” in front of the toilet for legroom, according to the uniform building codes (UBC section 2705.1 or IRC section 408.6.)

2) Remove the old toilet. AcmeHowTo.com says the most efficient way to do this is turn off the water, drain the toilet, and disconnect the water line. You can then remove the tank, followed by the nuts at the base of the bowl that secure it to the floor. Pick up the old unit, stuff the pipe with a rag to keep sewer emissions from entering your home, and then remove, preferably with the help of a partner.

3) See if there is any damage to the flange. This apparatus secures your toilet to the drainpipe in the floor. If cracked or broken you can fix the damaged area with a flange span. Otherwise, scrape off the residue of the old wax bowl ring, and replace it with a new wax bowl ring. The ring seals the toilet at the pipe, preventing water and sewer gas leakage.

4) To place the bowl, thread the bolts sticking up from the flange through the holes at the base of the bowl and tighten down. Toiletology.com stresses that you must keep the toilet level, because the bowl will rock and break that seal from the wax bowl ring.

Note:  It may be necessary to attach rubber strips to the bottom of the bowl to increase friction against the floor.

5) Attach the tank to the back. Your goal is again keeping it level, which should be easy if the bowl is already level. Screw the bolts down evenly with enough pressure to flatten the gaskets and seal the toilet.

6) Finish the job. Attach the water line from the floor to the intake at the bottom of the tank. Hammerzone.com recommends that you apply a lining of silicone caulk around the front and sides to further secure the toilet from wobble. Do not caulk the back because, if water begins leaking, you’ll have early warning before a potentially disastrous situation comes up.

If possible, wait a few days before using the toilet to see if everything is still level. If there are no problems turn on the water and begin using your new commode.