This is a step by step by step guide created by a fully qualified Plumber. I’ve created this guide for anyone that likes to turn their hand at home improvements but isn’t clear on the correct procedure of removing the old toilet and fitting a new one. It’s also for anyone that is feeling the pinch and can’t afford to get a sometimes costly plumber in to compete their improvements.
Step one – Isolating the supply and removing the old toilet
The first step is to obviously take the old toilet out if you haven’t already. It’s important to isolate the cold water supply to the toilet this will prevent you, your family and belongings from swimming round your house. First of all you should look at the supply and check to see if there is any means of isolating it close to the toilet. There is sometimes some form of isolator near the toilet for maintenance purposes and a means of quick isolation in the event of a leak. If there isn’t any isolator then turn the mains water stop cock out (the main supply to the house usually in a cupboard, kitchen or bathroom). This will turn the water off to the whole house. Next flush the toilet to draw whatever water is in the cistern and to double check the correct supply has been isolated. If it has and the water is off we can start to take the toilet apart. Take an adjustable spanner and undo the nut connecting the cold water supply to the cistern (remember left Lucy righty tighty). This is a silly rhyme that helped me to remember which way a nut needs to be tightened. Once the nut has been disconnected locate the wing nuts that connect the cistern to the pan and undo them they probably will be stiff but a pair of grips usually helps a lot. Unscrew any screws that are attaching the toilet o the cistern or pan. Check to see if there is an external overflow (a white plastic pipe usually located at the bottom or side of the cistern. Disconnect if there is one and lift the cistern away from the pan. The pan should just pull away from the waste connection at the back. Dispose of the toilet and pull out the waste connector that attaches the waste to the toilet. (This is because they are prone to leaks once they have been disturbed).
Step 2 – Making the new toilet up
The new close coupled toilet should be unpacked and inspected for damage and cracks. If all is well the cistern’s components should be installed using the instructions that should be supplied with the toilet. Once the cistern has been made up the next job is to mount it on to the pan. There should be a big O ring supplied with the toilet that should be pushed around the emerging syphon (the largest component in the toilet). Then push the threaded bolts through the hole’s in the pan, do the wing nuts’s up a bit at a time it’s important not to do one side up completely it can cause it to leak. Once you are happy with the tightness of the nutshell cistern shouldn’t move independently.
Step 3- Fitting the Toilet
Insert your new pan connector into the 4″ waste pipe ensuring the exterior rubber is pushed firmly into the pipe. Then line the toilet up with the waste and push the toilet back connecting the pan connector to the new pan. Next screw the toilet to the floor and the cistern to the wall (don’t use hammer action to drill the holes ceramics can shatter easily with vibrations trust me I’ve found out the hard way). All new toilets have internal overflow’s that are incorporated into the syphon so we shouldn’t need to worry about that. If the cold feed lines up with the cold entry on the cistern then you can change the washer tighten the nut and you’re away! But if this sent the case then don’t worry here’s an alternate. If you don’t have a 15mm pipe slice which I doubt you will a hacksaw and file will do fine. First cut the pipe squarely around three to five inches lower than it is and files it smooths. You will need a half inch bsp flexible tap connector which are available at most DIY stores. Tighten one end onto the smoothed pipe and the other end on the entry point of the cistern. Once this has all been done and you’re confident everything is tight turn the cold water back on and check for leaks around the toilet and pipe. Once the cistern if full flush it and check for leaks at the back of the toilet and under the cistern. No leaks? Well done you have replaced your own toilet and saved yourself some money in the process.