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Billy’s Home Repair Tutoring Session “The Royal Flush”

The challenge:

  • Shutoff water supply
  • Remove existing toilet and plumbing
  • Check all pipes for damage
  • Remove the broken wax ring
  • Size-up the new toilet according to the space
  • Repair tiles and grouting in the area
  • Install new toilet and plumbing

Shuttoff The Water Supply

water supply turned off and disconnected from tank
Water supply shutoff and disconnected from the tank.

Billy disconnected the water supply to the tank and removed the remaining water that was still found in tank and in the bowl. You can remove this water with a sponge.

Remove Existing Toilet and Plumbing

After all the water has been shutoff and removed from your appliance, in this case the toilet. You can proceed to remove the toilet bowl. The bolts that hold the toilet to the wax ring seal are called Closet Bolts. You can use an open-end wrench to remove these bolts.

Notice the rust stains on the tank and how they lean to one side. This indicates that the bowl was not level. It is likely that the bowl was budding up against the wall because it wasn’t measure to fit the space.

Once the bolts have been removed you can lift the tank up.

Due to years of being pushed up against the wall you can see the grout has separated. This will need to be repaired too.

Before installing the new toilet, clean up the surrounding debris. Repair the any broken tile or potential water damaged areas from prior leaks or issues the previous toilet may have caused.

Repairing Tiles and Grout

Wax Rings

All U.S. toilets require a wax ring to seal the toilet to the sanitary waste system. The wax ring prevents methane gas from leaking into the house and prevents water from leaking out anytime the toilet is flushed. Without a proper wax ring, there can be extensive water damage and you may encounter methane fumes entering into your living space.

The cost of a wax ring is cheap and is quite essential. Wax rings rarely ever dry out and should last a very long time (approximately 20 – 30 years if not more) unless they were not properly installed.

Install The New Toilet and Plumbing

The wax ring set comes with closet bolts and you’ll need to place these first. Once aligned, you can set the wax ring and mount the toilet bowl on top of it. In order to create a good seal it is important to push the bowl down, add some weight. Some people even sit on the bowl depending on their weight to seat the wax ring. Once it’s all set, tighten up the bolts, one at a time, until the toilet is set and flush to the floor. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN the closet bolts or you may break the porcelain toilet.

Reconnect the water supply to the tank and slowly open the valve to let the tank fill. Once filled you can perform you first flush.

The video above shows Billy’s successful installation of a new toilet bowl. It shows how he reconnected the water supply to the tank and slowly opened the valve to let the tank fill-up. After the tank has completely filled Billy has the pleasure of flushing it for the first time. We call this, “The Royal Flush”. A royal flush is a typically a poker hand that has all the high cards with the same colored suit. In Billy’s case, he has done all the hard tasks (The high cards) and has uniformly checked all his tasks and completed them well (the same colored suit). All in all, The Royal Flush is simply the satisfaction of flushing the toilet for the first time and realizing that your hard work paid off.

To the left: Improperly sized toilet that was leaking.
To the right: A properly sized toilet, with a properly sealing wax ring, level to the ground without any leaks.

The Toilet Seat

We didn’t really show or discuss the toilet seat, but it is important to note that it has to be purchased separately. The toilet seat does not come with the toilet bowl. In the past, there weren’t too many choices for a toilet seat, but today, we have a variety of choices. From toilet seats that have cushioning to toilet seats that have a slow closing cover. Billy chose the slow closing cover and is happy he did. A slow closing cover seat prevents the cover of the toilet seat from slamming onto the the bowl. Here’s Billy putting the final touches to the project.

Billy installing a toilet seat to finish the his DIY Plumbing project.

Final Remarks

Confidence Level 5

Five TLC logos indicates that the student can successfully complete a project with guidance and is acknowledged for their hard work, effort, engagement, planning and really being hands-on.

We want to remind students that they should take an active role when work is being done by others. Just because you are hiring a contractor doesn’t mean he will do the job YOU expect to have done. Remember to review the scope of work, inspect the materials they have purchased and follow up on the progress of any contractor’s installation, particularly if they don’t reach out to you.

We love that Billy took the knowledge he’s learned in our classes and has been able to apply it. Thank you for sharing your story.

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