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Parts of a Toilet – Toilet Tank Diagram

Do It Yourself Toilet Repairs + Toilet Diagram to Identify and Replace Any Toilet Part

If you’re unfamiliar with the Parts of a toilet or don’t have a Toilet Parts diagram, you may not know how simple it is to fix a toilet – when it needs repair.

Good news, If you are dealing with a leaking toilet, a running toilet, or a toilet that doesn’t flush properly, this toilet repair guide will show you how simple it is to repair Toilet Tank or Toilet Bowl parts yourself.

When toilet problems like these used to happen at our home, I would call the plumber – and pay them a hefty repair bill. Once I learned how simple the toilet tank parts are and how they functioned, I was able to buy the toilet parts and quickly take care of any repairs myself. 

With an exemplary “diagram of a toilet” and a few tools, most toilet repairs can easily be fixed by the homeowner.

For these repairs, you’ll need a few essential hand tools, but you won’t need any power tools

“Toilet Parts Diagram”

 

Toilet Tank Diagram - Best Home Gear
Toilet Tank Diagram – BestHomeGear.com

Some Toilet problems require a professional plumber – But most toilet repairs do not and qualify as simple DIY jobs. The Toilet Diagram (above) lets you quickly identify any toilet’s main components.

Tools to Repair a Toilet:

In addition to studying the toilet diagram and learning about all of the toilet parts,  it is essential to fix a running toilet, you will need to grab the right tools to execute these simple repairs.

Fortunately, toilets are relatively easy to work on and do not require anything that can’t be found in a standard home tool kit. Toilet Repair Tools include:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • 4- In -1 Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Vice Grips
  • Hacksaw (if you’re installing new flange bolts – That do not have EZ snap-off marks)
  • Shallow Water Bucket – To catch toilet tank water.
  • Soft towel or Sponge for the cleanup

While the specific tools will vary, most repairs can be done using an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver. However, if your toilet is older and has rusted bolts on it, you may also need a pair of vice grips to help you break them loose before you can remove them with your wrench.

How a Toilet Flushes, Check out this Quick Video:

 

Toilet Tank Parts:

Most parts of toilet assemblies are located inside the Toilet Tank Diagram. Some people refer to these parts as the “toilet insides” because they are located inside the tank.  Inside the toilet tank (the tank is the water reservoir that sits on top of the toilet bowl) – you will find two main types of flushing mechanisms: 

One is the Flush Valve, and the other is the Fill Valve.

Toilet Tank Parts Include:

  • Toilet Tank
  • Toilet Tank Lid
  • Toilet Lever
  • Toilet Tank Fill Valve (Refill tube)
  • Toilet Tank Flush Valve (Overflow tube)
  • Toilet Flapper

If you need some help identifying them, refer to the toilet parts diagram for a complete list of interior Toilet Parts.  (Incidentally, unless you need to replace your Fill Valve completely, the repairs below do not require any tools).

1)  Flush Valve (diagram)

 

toilet flush valve | Best Home Gear
Toilet Tank Flush Valve – Besthomegear.com

 

The first step in making repairs to the parts of a toilet tank is to determine which toilet pieces are the problem. The fast way to do this is to look for the vertical white plastic tube standing up inside the tank.

This is known as the Flush Valve and acts as a protection mechanism to keep the tank from overfilling. If the water is flowing into the Flush Valve, then the problem is with your Fill Valve (see detail below) – which is not shutting off properly.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

However, If you find that the water hasn’t reached the top of the Flush Valve and is instead running out into your toilet bowl below, you have a problem with your Toilet Flapper (see details below)  With that in mind, let’s look at each toilet part specifically:

2)   Toilet Flapper (diagram)

toilet flapper | Best Home Gear
Toilet tank Flapper – Besthomegear.com

 

The #1 component that wears out in a toilet’s flush valve is a piece known as a Flapper. The flapper is the rubber part connected to your flush valve that creates a seal between your toilet’s tank and bowl, allowing it to retain water until it is flushed. If your toilet is running continuously and the culprit isn’t your fill valve, the flapper is likely the source of your problem.

The easiest way to tell whether or not your flapper has gone bad is to press it down from inside the tank with your hand. If additional pressure closes off the tank and stops the toilet from running, the flapper probably needs to be replaced. Like any other moving part, flappers wear out over a while, eventually preventing them from sealing properly.

Replace Toilet Flapper:

To replace the flapper, start by turning off the water to your toilet and draining the toilet tank. After this, you should be able to reach inside, grab the flapper and carefully remove it by pulling it off the tabs that secure it on either side.

Next, detach the flapper from the chain that connects to the toilet handle.

If there is any lime, slime, or hard water build-up where your old flapper seats against the flapper seat on the flush valve, you can use a scouring pad to remove it and make sure that the new flapper forms the best possible seal.

To complete the installation, attach the new flapper and reattach the chain from the handle. Before finishing up, you should turn the water back on and test the new flapper.

Although flush valve problems usually result from a worn flapper, other issues can arise.

Note:  Although flush valve problems usually result from a worn flapper, other issues can arise. If the chain that runs between the flapper and the handle arm is too loose or too tight, it can prevent the toilet from flushing correctly. If the chain appears unusually loose or so tight that it prevents the flapper from sealing after a flush, you can try adjusting the chain itself.

3)    Toilet Fill Valve (diagram)

 

Toilet Fill Valve | Best Home Gear
Toilet Tank Fill Valve – BestHomeGear.Com

Assuming the Fill Valve is the problem, the first thing you should check is whether your Float is adjusted correctly. To do this, adjust the float (this will either be the float ball connected to a lever/rod or a newer “float ” design.

See both diagrams below) Simply lift the float gently to its highest position and listen to see if the water stops running.

How To Fix Toilet Fill Valve:

If the water stops after temporarily lifting the float, then the water level isn’t raising the float properly as it fills your tank. Many toilets will have a simple screw at the top of the valve assembly that can be used to adjust the float cup.

If your toilet doesn’t have this feature, slightly bend the float arm or gradually unscrew the float ball counterclockwise. This will adjust the position of the float ball in the tank and cause the water to shut off at the fill valve.

If the float isn’t the problem,  inspect the toilet fill valve assembly itself to see if it has become jammed with lime deposits from your water. If the fill valve is stuck, remove and clean it, or more likely, replace it.


4)   Fill Valve Seal (Washer)

 

toilet fill valve seal | Best Home Gear
Toilet Fill Valve Seal (Washer) – Besthomegear.com

The small Fill Valve Washer inside the FIll Valve often wears out. This is a very inexpensive part and easily be replaced.

How to Fix Toilet Fill Valve Washer

If you believe that your toilet fill valve “washer” is worn out, simply remove the top cap of the Fill Valve and inspect the rubber washer on top.

If the fill valve washer appears to be cracked, not pliable, or worn out – replace it with an identical washer available at any hardware store. This could be a straightforward and cheap fix to stop your fill valve from running continually.

Note:  If all remedies fail to fix the fill valve, you can remove the entire fill valve assembly by removing the bottom nut holding it to the tank, and replacing it with a new one. This solution is a bit more labor-intensive than the others, but it will fix any issues you have relating to a fill valve.

If you aren’t sure what kind of replacement valve you need, be sure to bring the old valve assembly with you to the hardware store so that you can ask a plumbing representative to help you find an adequate replacement.  


 

Note:  If you are not into “Troubleshooting” and want to go the safe route to Replace All the toilet parts at once, use the list below to pick up every part you will need:

Complete List of Toilet Tank” Parts:

  • Fill Valve Assembly ( Make sure to replace with the model that fits your toilet)
  • Flush Valve assembly
  • Flapper (if not included with flush valve assembly)
  • Toilet Handle, chain, and retaining nut

Toilet Tank “Designs”

For a quick look at the two optional “Toilet Tank Designs” you may find in your home, we’ve also included a Toilet Parts Diagram below. This illustrates the two different types of fill valves, including the Newer “Float Cup” design (invented in the 1950s), and the older “ball cock” fill valve design.

When replacing your fill valve, you should be looking for a modern “float cup” toilet filler valve – as ball cock fill valves are no longer as useful.

“Float Cup” Fill Valve Toilet Tank – which you will find when purchasing most modern toilets and replacing newer toilet tank parts:  

 

Toilet Tank Float Cup Design - Best Home Gear
Toilet Float Cup Fill Valve – Besthomgear.com

 

The Toilet Tank Diagram below shows an “older” “Ballcock” fill valve design – with a “Float Ball”:  Hardly ever manufactured anymore; however, if you have an older home, it may have this toilet float design.

Ball cock toilet diagram - Best Home Gear
Ballcock Type Toilet Diagram – Besthomegear.com

“Toilet Bowl” Parts:

Once you get past the Toilet Tank parts, the parts of the Toilet Bowl are simpler to repair and quicker.

“Toilet Bowl” Parts Include:

  • Porcelain Toilet bowl
  • Toilet Seat
  • Wax Ring (The Seal below the toilet bowl) with Floor Bolts included
  • Toilet Floor Flange 

The entire principle of toilet operation is quite simple. From the Toilet bowl, water is flushed down a bent flow in the toilet bowl casting. The Toilet tank refills and is ready to complete the process again.

The Toilet Bowl itself seals with a Wax Ring that sits on top of the PVC Floor Flange, with the main waste line located beneath it.  Make sure you position the Floor Bolts shown below at the same time as the new wax ring ahead of setting the toilet back in place.

“Toilet Bowl”

Toilet Bowl Illustration - Best Home Gear
Typical Toilet Bowl – Besthomegear.com

How to Replace a Toilet

If you’ve decided you need to replace your entire toilet, not just a few toilet parts, don’t worry – it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Check out this video from This Old House on “How to Change a Toilet.”

Now that you understand how the basic components of a toilet work, you will be able to quickly determine the parts of a toilet that have gone bad and then repair or replace them, and in case your toilet overflows, grab your wet/dry shop vacuum to get it cleaned up quickly.


Toilet Seat

how to replace toilet seat - besthomegear.com
How to Replace Toilet Seat – Best Home Gear

How To Replace Toilet Seat

Replacing a toilet seat is one of the simplest DIY repairs you can perform.  Toilet seats are offered in two different shapes (Oval or Round), different sizes, and materials (plastic or wood), but all toilet seats attach to the toilet bowl using the same method – with two toilet bolts.

Today’s most popular toilet seat is the Oblong, Plastic, Self-Closing toilet seat. Measure your toilet bowl, determine the shape, then choose the seat that best matches your toilet bowl size, preferences, and budget. 

To Replace a Toilet Seat – begin by removing the existing toilet seat. To do this, start by gripping one of two bolts underneath the toilet seat with pliers, and turn the top screw counter-clockwise.  Repeat by removing the second toilet seat bolt and screw, then remove and discard the old toilet seat.

To install a new toilet seat, simply set the new toilet seat in place, then install two new bolts and screws, and secure the new toilet seat tightly.  

Note:  Most Modern toilet seats now employ a toilet bolt design, with snap-on (flip-up by using a flat-head screwdriver) or twist-on bolt covers (no tools) to conceal the toilet seat bolts. A much more sanitary design vs. exposed toilet seat bolts.


The Wax Ring

Whether you’re looking at American Standard toilet parts or other manufacturers, A typical wax ring toilet repair kit includes floor flange anchors, nuts, and washers.

Toilet Wax Ring - best home gear
Wax Ring – Besthomegear.com

 

The “Floor Flange”

The Toilet Floor Flange (shown below) is connected to your Toilet by way of the Wax Ring (shown above)

Toilet Flange
Toilet floor flange – besthomegear.com

  Together, these toilet installation “floor parts” create a completely waterproof seal between the toilet commode itself and the drain pipe that carries water and waste away, preventing it from leaking out on the floor.

If water is seeping out of your toilet and pooling around the bottom, the problem is an almost certain failure of the wax ring. Purchase a “Universal Toilet Bowl Wax Ring” which works on 99% of the modern toilets manufactured.


How To “Replace Toilet Bowl Wax Ring”

Many homeowners panic a little when they see used toilet water seeping from under the toilet during flushes, but don’t worry, you won’t need a toilet plumbing diagram to make this simple fix.

In reality, this is a more common repair than you realize.  The issue is simple, the toilet repair is less than $5.00 and easy for most homeowners by following these ten steps:

1) Turn off the water supply to the toilet.

2) Disconnect the water supply line near the rear base of the toilet.

3) Remove the floor anchor Nuts that connect to the bolts at the base of the toilet

4) Empty the water from the toilet bowl – as much as possible.

5) Lift the toilet straight up, remove it, and set it aside.  

6) Remove the old wax ring. Clean, thoroughly scrape and remove all leftover residue.  If you see any damage to the PVC flange (mounted to the floor), remove and replace the floor flange to match the size of your drain pipe (this type of damage is very uncommon).

7) Hint:  It’s a good idea to install the New toilet anchor bolts with washers (which are included with the new wax ring) to the toilet flange (illustration above).  Ensure you install them in the same toilet flange slots as the original bolts.

8) Gently position the New Wax Ring (the flat side is down) and center it on top of the PVC flange (on the floor).

Note: In the last few years, Fluidmaster has developed a “Wax-Free” Toilet seal which is hugely popular. You can order a wax-free toilet ring  (illustration below)

waxless toilet bowl gasket - best home gear
Waxless Toilet Gasket – BestHomeGear.Com

8) Position toilet bowl bolts in place and carefully set the toilet on top of the new wax ring, allowing the toilet bolts to slide through the bottom side of the toilet.  (Be careful not to manipulate the wax ring too much when setting it on top of the flange, as bending it may prevent it from forming a complete and tight seal).

9) Use a hacksaw to cut toilet anchor bolts for length (some are snap-away bolts – if so, use pliers to snap them off to the proper length)

10) Reconnect the water supply and check for leaks at the toilet bowl’s base.

11). Highly Suggested:  Waterproof the Toilet bowl.  To do this, simply apply a thin bead of clear or white caulk around the toilet bowl where it meets the flooring.  Use Outdoor/Silicone caulk for this waterproof application.

This step is especially essential for toilets or bathrooms that are on upper floors and sit above finished living spaces.

This step should keep the overflow of toilet water contained without damage to lower floor ceilings, and this is one of the best preventative steps you’ll ever do for your home.

caulking toilet bowl bottom - besthomegear.com
Caulk around the toilet bowl

Alternate Wax Ring Install Method: “New” Toilet Installation:

Note:  If you’re installing a new toilet, the preferred method for installing a wax ring will be to mount it to the underside of the toilet itself, Before seating the entire toilet bowl to the PVC toilet flange on the floor.  This method is illustrated below:

 
Wax Ring mounted to toilet - Best Home Gear
Install wax ring on a toilet – bethomegear.com

Here’s Another Good DIY article we wrote For Homeowners – How to Wire a 3-way Light Switch


Conclusion:

If you want to save money and time by waiting for (and paying for) a plumber, consider doing an easy DIY project out of your toilet repair the next time it starts running continuously or leaking.  

With a bit of reading and some basic tools, you now know how to get your toilet back in working order, quickly eliminate the risk of flooding, and at the same time avoid costly damage and keep mold from occurring.

Have some additional tips on repairing toilets?  Leave us a quick comment below – we would love to hear from you.

Thanks again for visiting BestHomeGear.Com, and good luck with your DIY toilet repairs!

Additional Reading & Resources:

Kevin
Kevin
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear. In addition to his work in publishing, Kevin enjoys exploring the Outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, Hiking, Cycling, Fishing, Reading, and Completing Projects for the Home and Garden.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Its articles like this from Best home gear, that give me the confidence i need to repair a toilet myself – thanks for sharing!

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