Replace Your Toilet with a Low-flow Model and save on Your Water Bill


If you're updating an older home, consider replacing the toilets with new low-flow models. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 mandated that new toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, to conserve on water. If your home is older than that, the toilets may use significantly more water. A sleek new low-flow toilet is easy to install, will brighten up your bathroom, and save you money on your water bill.

Determining If Your House Will Support a Low-Flow Toilet

Prior to 1992, builders could assume that toilets would use more water when flushed, so the plumbing in the house may have been designed for a higher-flow toilet. In some cases, the angle at which a drain pipe sits may not be sufficient for the low-flow toilets. If you have an older home, have a local plumbing service check the pipes to make sure they will work with the new toilet.

Doing Your Own Toilet Replacement

This is a three-step process:

  1. remove the old toilet
  2. prepare the drain for the new toilet
  3. install the new toilet

The tools you'll need include:

  • screwdriver
  • crescent wrench
  • putty knife
  • sponge
  • rags

When purchasing the new toilet at the plumbing supply store, pick up the following materials:

  • a wax ring for sealing the toilet to the floor drain
  • a tube of silicone caulk for sealing the base of the toilet to the floor

Removing the Old Toilet

  1. Turn off the water shutoff valve to the toilet.
  2. Flush the toilet and remove any water remaining in the tank with a sponge or rags.
  3. Remove the water line from the bottom of the tank.
  4. Remove the top of the tank and place it out of the way.
  5. Remove the two bolts at the bottom of the tank and lift it straight up off of the toilet base. Place it out of the way, too.
  6. Remove the caps from the two bolts on the bottom of the toilet. Remove the nuts from the two bolts.
  7. Pull up on the toilet base while rocking it from side to side to free it from the old wax ring. Place the base outside with the rest of the toilet parts.

Preparing the Drain

  1. Scrape the old wax ring off of the floor and the around the mounting flange with the putty knife.
  2. Clean the mounting flange, bolts and floor.
  3. If the old bolts are rusted or bent, replace them with the new bolts that came with the toilet.

The mounting flange secures the toilet bowl to the drain pipe. If the flange is broken, bent or damaged, you will need to contact a plumber to replace the flange so you'll get a good seal with the drain to prevent leaks.

Installing the New Toilet

  1. Position the mounting bolts to match the holes in the toilet base.
  2. Turn the toilet bowl over and place it on a soft surface, like a rug or towel.
  3. Place the wax ring around the drain hole in the toilet base so the tapered edge will fit into the floor drain.
  4. Turn the toilet bowl over and place it on the drain, aligning the mounting bolts with the holes in the base.
  5. Slowly push the toilet down while rocking it back and forth gently to seat the wax ring.
  6. Tighten the nuts on the mounting bolts until they are just snug. Do not over tighten or you'll crack the base.
  7. Place the decorative bolt caps over the bolts and nuts.
  8. Run a bead of silicone caulk around the base of the toilet next to the floor.
  9. Turn the new toilet tank over and place the rubber gasket around the outlet.
  10. Turn the tank over and gently place on the back of the toilet base, aligning the bolt holes.
  11. Insert the bolts and nuts and tighten until the tank is secure, but do not over tighten them.
  12. Install the toilet seat by placing the two bolts through the hinges at the rear of the seat and through the matching holes in the toilet base. Tighten the nuts on the bolts until the seat is secure.
  13. Attach the water line to the bottom of the tank.
  14. Turn on the water valve and flush the toilet.

Once the new toilet is in place, dispose of the old toilet. If it is not cracked, chipped or stained, you may be able to sell it. Local recyclers may take it and if not, plan on making a trip to the landfill. For more information, contact RK Knight Plumbing


26 March 2015

plumbing mistakes - when to call in the pros

Do you know when to call a plumber? I had it in my head that plumbing was a simple system in my home that I could manage myself, but quickly learned otherwise. After completing a bathroom renovation myself and having a few of the water and drain pipe connections fail, I quickly learned that it was one job that I should have left to a professional. My website offers you simple solutions to small plumbing issues and a short guide to help you determine if your best option is to call in the professional plumbers. Hopefully, my mistakes will help you learn what not to do in your home.