The toilet is one of the most important things in your home. All of the parts of a toilet work together to ensure a smooth flush and a cleaner and more sanitary bathroom. When your toilet is working correctly, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about it. If there’s a problem with your potty, though, it helps to know as much about how it works as possible.
When you’re familiar with the parts of a toilet, you’ll be able to figure out what isn’t working more quickly. This guide reviews the parts of a toilet tank and toilet bowl.
Toilet Tank Parts
Toilets come in different shapes, sizes and styles. Two-piece toilets, made with a tank and bowl that are bolted together, are the more common option. However, one-piece toilets, made from a single mold for a more contemporary look, are also available. The bowl and tank of a one-piece toilet can’t be separated. They can be much heavier and are usually more costly.
Typically, the toilet tank sits on top of the bowl, which is attached to the floor. The toilet tank is the upper part of the unit. It contains the flushing mechanism in a small water tank or reservoir. When a toilet runs constantly, it’s likely caused by a problem with one of the toilet tank parts. A toilet kit comes with parts needed for common repairs.
The parts of a toilet tank are:
- Handle: Located outside the tank, this is used to manually flush the toilet. On dual flush models, the flush handle is sometimes replaced by two buttons on top of the toilet tank.
- Supply line: This connects the water supply to the toilet, usually at the base of the toilet tank, and allows for proper flushing. It typically includes a shut-off valve, so you can turn the water off when there's an issue.
- Chain: Also called the toilet lift chain, this is the length of metal links that connects the toilet lever to the flapper.
- Float: This buoyant device, sometimes part of the flush valve, regulates the amount of water in the tank. The toilet tank float may also be called the float valve or ballcock.
- Flush valve: This sits in the middle of the tank and is linked to the overflow tube. It triggers the toilet to flush waste from your toilet bowl.
- Overflow tube: This keeps excess water from overflowing into the tank and spilling onto the bathroom floor. It is connected to the flush valve.
- Toilet fill valve: This part of the toilet is responsible for refilling the tank after each flush.
- Toilet flapper: Situated at the base of the tank, this lifts and triggers a flush of water to the toilet bowl. It is also called a flapper valve.
- Toilet lever: Connected to the handle, this lever lifts the rubber flapper, which triggers the flush. It is also called the lift rod.
- Toilet tank cover: This heavy lid covers the toilet tank. Because it’s made of porcelain clay, the lid is breakable. Be careful when you remove it to access the toilet tank parts. While you work on the toilet, place the lid somewhere safe to avoid breaking or cracking it. Some toilet owners use the top of the toilet tank for storage. Items kept there have a chance of dropping into the bowl, however. They can cause a clog if they fall in as the toilet is being flushed. Anything stored on top of the toilet is also more likely to collect germs from flush spray.
Toilet Bowl Parts
The toilet bowl is the lower part of the unit that holds water and waste. The two main types of toilet bowl shapes are elongated and round. Elongated toilet bowls extend further from the wall. They can be more comfortable to use. Because round toilets are smaller, they can be a better choice when bathroom space is limited.
Both elongated and round toilet bowls have the same parts:
- Lid: It covers the toilet seat and can act as a safety barrier. Closing the lid before you flush can keep droplets of water and even germs from spreading into the air. To keep small children from falling into a toilet while it’s not being used, you can install child-safety lid locks. Closed lids also keep pets from drinking out of the toilet and possibly being exposed to bacteria or toxic cleaners.
- Seat: The toilet seat is attached to the bowl. It was designed to be a reasonably comfortable place to sit while using the toilet. When buying a toilet seat, make sure that you get one to match the style of your round or elongated toilet bowl.
- Rim: The uppermost part of the toilet bowl, the rim runs around the top of the bowl. It was designed to prevent splashes and overflowing.
- Toilet flange: This fitting seals the toilet to the floor and connects to the drain pipe.
- Wax ring: Also known as the toilet bowl gasket or toilet seal, the wax ring secures the base of the toilet to the flange.
- Toilet bolts and covers: Bolts joined to the flange help keep the toilet securely attached to the floor. The bolts usually have a cover that matches the toilet. If you notice that your toilet rocks, you may need to replace the toilet bolts. They can become corroded by moisture collecting on the floor around the toilet. Before trying to replace the bolts, check the condition of the flange. If it is in bad shape, it won’t hold new bolts.
When the parts of a toilet are worn out or broken, you can purchase a toilet repair kit for replacements. Toilet parts can be purchased individually as well. Knowing the parts of a toilet and reviewing a toilet parts diagram can help you figure out what you'll need.
Even when you are familiar with the parts of a toilet tank and the parts of a toilet bowl, you may not be able to fix every problem. When you need help from a professional, The Home Depot offers plumbing services, including repairs and toilet installation.