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How to Replace a Toilet

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Step 3: Preparing the Water Supply

If you're replacing an existing toilet, you'll probably connect to the existing supply valve, so you can skip this step, unless the valve is shot. If you've brought new plumbing to the toilet, a supply pipe should be coming out of the wall or floor at the back of the toilet. Stop valves with compression fittings attach to copper pipe without soldering. If your supply pipe is another material, attach the appropriate stop valve to it.

To attach a copper pipe to a water supply valve using a compression fitting, use pipe joint compound to prevent oxidation and grease the parts so they tighten smoothly.

Locking pliers (or a wrench) hold the stop valve body, while the wrench tightens the compression nut.

Seal the Drain

Before placing the bowl on the flange, make a trial run, without any seals, to check if the bowl sits flat on the floor. If necessary, play around with the provided shims until the bowl is stable. (Cut the shims afterward so they will disappear under the bowl.)

A beeswax seal ring seals the toilet to the drain. If the new flange is not already greased (some come greased), smear some beeswax on it.

Finish Attaching Bowl and Tank

At this point, everything is ready for a good, tight installation. Position the toilet over the mounting bolts, and tighten the nuts—but skip that Hercules act with the wrench—toilets can break!

Press the bowl down onto the seal. Put your whole weight on the bowl so it seats fully.

Place the tank on the toilet and tighten the bolts holding the tank down. Tighten evenly, but don't break anything. The tank should come with the guts in place. If it doesn't, plumb them in according to instructions.

Tighten the floor bolts evenly. Place a small level on the tank to keep it level. Cut off the floor bolts with a miniature hacksaw, or grab a regular hacksaw blade in locking pliers.

Step 4: Connect the Water Supply Line and Finish

You have already connected the water supply shutoff (the “stop”) before placing the toilet. Now simply attach a flexible hose between the stop and the toilet inlet.

Insert the toilet seat bolts into their holes, tighten, and place the plastic covers on them. Open the stop valve and test flush the toilet. Caulk around the base with caulk that matches the toilet. Check for a leak at the supply pipe, and tighten if needed. You're done!

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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