Parts of a Toilet: What They Are and How to Fix

Author Lou Tarchiani

Posted Apr 18, 2023

Reads 9.4K

Interior design of modern bathroom with sink and bidet with mirror and decorated with black tile

The toilet is one of the most important fixtures in a household, and it's essential that it works properly. A malfunctioning toilet can cause all sorts of problems, from inconvenience to costly repairs. Understanding the "parts of a toilet" and how they work together is crucial for any homeowner or renter.

The "parts of a toilet" include the tank, bowl, flush valve, fill valve, flapper, handle, and various fittings and connectors. Each component plays a vital role in ensuring that the toilet functions correctly. If one part fails or breaks down, it can affect the entire system and cause issues such as leaks or clogs. Knowing how to identify and fix these problems can save you time and money in the long run.

Parts of a Toilet Tank

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The toilet tank is a large container that sits behind the toilet bowl and holds water. It is one of the separate parts of a two-piece toilet, with the other being the bowl. In a one-piece toilet, the tank and bowl are combined into a single unit. The toilet tank consists of several important components such as the fill valve, flush valve, overflow tube, and flapper. Understanding these parts can help you troubleshoot any issues you may encounter with your toilet tank.

1. Tip

Tip: Did you know that the toilet tank is one of the most important parts of a toilet? It holds the water that flushes waste away. Another crucial part is the water supply valve located behind the toilet. Make sure it's on and working properly to prevent any future plumbing mishaps. Want to learn more about the different parts of a toilet? Keep reading our article!

2. Toilet Handle

The toilet handle is located on the front side of the toilet tank. When pushing the handle, it sends stored water from the tank rushing into the towel bowl to carry waste away. The toilet handle is connected to a chain that lifts a plastic nut inside the tank counter-clockwise, which releases stored water. Don't forget to put the toilet tank lid back on after using the toilet handle!

3. Toilet Chain and Lift Wire

The toilet chain and lift wire are two essential parts of a toilet that work together to release water into the toilet bowl. The lift wire, located inside the toilet tank and attached to the toilet handle, acts as a crane arm to lift the toilet flapper and release water. On the other hand, the stainless steel or plastic chain links the lift wire to the toilet flapper. If you need to adjust either part, simply turn the plastic nut clockwise or counter-clockwise to remove or attach them. Understanding how these parts work will help you troubleshoot any issues with your toilet's flushing mechanism.

4. Toilet Flapper or Flap Valve

The toilet flapper is a hinged flexible rubber valve that sits at the bottom of the toilet tank and covers the opening to the toilet bowl. When you flush, the toilet flapper lifts to permit water to flow from the tank into the bowl, and then seals off again when the tank is refilling. If your toilet makes a hissing sound, it's likely that your toilet flapper isn't sealing completely. A 2-inch toilet flapper is a common size and can be replaced easily with a new one - just make sure to hook up the ears of the new one onto the fill tube, and re-hook the chain properly so it doesn't get caught on anything (like your towel unhook).

5. Toilet Fill Valve

The toilet fill valve is a crucial part of the toilet tank that helps bring water into the tank. It consists of a vertical plastic tube that allows water to enter, ensuring the water level remains at the proper height. In case your toilet tank's fill valve is faulty or you have an older toilet float with a buoyant ball, it is recommended that you replace them with plastic fill tubes or a replacement fill tube. This will ensure your toilet tank doesn't overflow and cause any unwanted damage in case the water supply enters through the off-center hole where the fill tube connects to the tank.

6. Toilet Float or Ballcock

When it comes to the parts of a toilet, there are a few key components that keep everything running smoothly. One of these is the toilet float, also known as a refill valve. This round plastic or aluminum ball sits in the toilet tank and controls the flow of water into the bowl. In newer toilets, you'll often see longer floats that help prevent float symptoms like the toilet continually running or not filling completely. So if you notice your toilet constantly running or not filling up to a full tank, it may be time to check your toilet float and make sure the tank water is flowing properly.

7. Toilet Overflow Tube

The toilet overflow tube is a vertical plastic tube that is found inside the toilet tank. The overflow tube moves water from the flush valve to the toilet bowl, and its main purpose is to prevent water from overflowing out of the toilet tank. By ensuring that the water in the tank remains at its proper level, you can avoid costly repairs caused by water damage.

8. Tip

One important tip when dealing with the parts of a toilet is to always start by turning off the water supply and flushing the toilet. Next, remove the tank by unscrewing the bolts and carefully sliding it off. From there, you can access components such as the fill valve, flapper valve, and flush valve. Make sure to clean any gaskets or washers that need it, and be mindful of the overflow tube when installing the tank back onto the toilet bowl.

9. Toilet Water Supply Line and Valve

The toilet water supply line starts at the oblong-shaped faucet handle on the wall and runs into the toilet tank through a flexible short braided metal hose. The supply valve, often made of plastic with shut-off valves with plastic handles, tightly shuts off the flow of water to the tank. If your toilet's water supply line or valve is not in good condition, it can be inexpensively replaced with a braided water supply line and a new shut-off valve. Understanding these parts of a toilet can help you troubleshoot any issues related to fresh water running into your toilet!

10. Toilet Bowl

The toilet bowl is the most recognizable part of the toilet. It's a large lower base where the user sits and is made out of vitreous china, a waterproof material that resists staining. The internal trap holds fresh water while preventing sewer gasses from entering. Unlike other parts of the toilet, the toilet bowl is a solid piece with no moving parts and rarely malfunctions over-tightening of tank bolts or a clogged toilet can be fixed with a toilet plunger or snake.

11. Tip

Tip: Did you know that not all toilet plungers are created equal? When dealing with a clogged toilet, it's important to use the right tool to get the job done. The open-end bell-shaped plunger is a common choice, but did you know there's also a fold-out flap option? Make sure you have the right type of toilet plunger on hand for those unexpected clogs.

12. Toilet Tank O-Ring Seal

The toilet tank o-ring seal, also known as a mack washer or round rubber gasket, is an essential part of preventing water leakage between the toilet tank and bowl. If poorly installed or cracked, the o-ring seal can shut off the water supply to the tank. To replace it, turn off the water supply and drain the tank by removing the tank lid and using a container underneath. Then, locate the bowl rim and use a socket wrench underneath to loosen and remove the metal or plastic nuts that hold the tank in place. Remove the old o-ring seal with a soft cloth and insert a new one with its cone side pointed towards the tank.

13. Toilet Wax or Silicone Seal

When it comes to sealing the area between the toilet bowl and floor flange, you have two options: a toilet wax seal or silicone seal. A toilet wax seal is a round cone-shaped collapsible gasket that prevents water from leaking out of the toilet bowl onto the floor. The donut-shaped part is made of wax and can be covered in plastic for easier installation. To install, place the wax seal press onto the toilet bowl base wax seals with a smooth continuous motion making sure the plastic cone pointing down is centered on the flange. The wax will eventually harden and create a tight seal, ensuring no leaks occur.

14. Tip

Tip: If you're experiencing height or spacing problems with your toilet installation, consider using toilet flange extenders and extra-thick wax rings. These can not only provide a tighter seal but also help to accommodate any height or spacing issues that may be present. Thicker wax rings are also an option to ensure a proper seal between the toilet and the flange. Keep reading for more tips on how to properly install and maintain your toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix a broken toilet?

To fix a broken toilet, start by turning off the water supply and draining the tank. Then, replace any faulty parts such as the flapper or fill valve. If the issue persists, it may be necessary to call a plumber for further assistance.

What causes toilet leaks?

Toilet leaks can be caused by faulty flappers, damaged fill valves, worn-out wax rings, or loose connections in the pipes. It's important to identify and fix the source of the leak to prevent water damage and higher water bills.

What are the parts of a toilet?

The main parts of a toilet include the bowl, tank, flush handle, fill valve, flapper valve, trapway, and wax ring.

What is the chain on a toilet?

The chain on a toilet is a linkage between the flush lever and the flapper or valve that opens to release water into the bowl.

How does a toilet work?

A toilet works by using gravity to move waste and water through a trapway and into a sewer line. When the flush lever is pressed, water from the tank rushes into the bowl, pushing waste through the trapway and into the sewer line.

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Lou Tarchiani

Writer at iHomeRank

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Lou Tarchiani is a passionate writer, avid traveler, and animal lover. She has a diverse background, having worked in fields ranging from marketing to education. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, where she has immersed herself in local cultures and gained unique perspectives on the world.

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