How to remove a toilet tank

How to remove a toilet tank

Experts say that toilets and toilet tanks can last up to 50 years if they are maintained properly but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into problems eventually. Over time, a toilet tank can become wobbly or cracked meaning that’s time to change your toilet tank for a new and improved one. 

       If your toilet tank is riddled with hard water stains and rust, or you just simply can’t get it clean, it’s time to replace the toilet cistern. Hard water stains and rust can compromise the toilet tank causing leaks or worse. 

       Replacing a toilet tank or toilet cistern is an easy and simple task that shouldn’t take more than an hour at most. When replacing a toilet tank, you’ll also want to go ahead and change the flush lever, flapper, fill valve, gasket, and other inner working pieces of the toilet tank. Experts also say that changing out the inner workings of your toilet and the toilet seat itself can increase the longevity of your toilet

       Below, you’ll find a list of materials needed as well as a step-by-step guide on to replace your toilet tank. 

Materials Needed

  • Basin Wrench or Adjustable Wrench 
  • Pliers or Vice Grips
  • Sponge
  • Rags
  • Toilet Tank Mounting Bolts
  • Toilet Tank

Tip: If you are replacing the toilet tank, be sure to double-check the box and ensure that it comes with all of the parts you’ll need to get the toilet working again. You’ll need the following for your toilet repair:

  • Fill Valve
  • Rubber Flapper
  • Rubber Gasket 
  • Spud Washer
  • Flush Lever
  • Water Supply Hose or Water Supply Line 

If the toilet tank has all of the inner working pieces, then you won’t need to worry about picking them up individually. 

How to Remove a Toilet Tank

Steps to remove a toilet tank
  1. Begin with shutting off the water supply line. The water valve is located behind the toilet and is usually sticking out of the wall behind the toilet basin. Turn the knob or lever until the water is completely shut off.
  2. Flush the toilet 1-2 times to cycle the water out of the toilet tank. 
  3. Lift the tank lid and place it somewhere safe and out of your way. You’ll need to soak up the remaining water inside the toilet tank with a sponge, preferably a larger one. You need to do this to ensure that you don’t make a huge mess when removing the toilet cistern from the basin. 
  4. Once you’ve finished removing the remaining water from the toilet tank, it’s time to discount the water supply line from the toilet tank. Lay down 1-2 rags or a towel to catch any dripping water. Using a pair of pliers or vice grips, break loose the plastic nut that connects the water supply line to the bottom of the toilet tank. Do the same for the other end of the line. 
  5. Inspect the water supply line. If the line still looks intact and mostly viable from what you can see, you’ll be able to re-use it later. It’s recommended that you soak the water supply line in White Vinegar for up to 30-minutes. Its well help break up any rust stain or hard water buildup you may see on the exterior as well as the interior. 
  6. Using a basin wrench or adjustable wrench, you’ll want to now loosen the mounting bolts that mount the toilet tank to the toilet bowl. Usually there are two bolts, one on the left and one on the right, but some toilets have a singular bolt in the center of the toilet cistern. Depending on where the mounting bolts are located, you may need to lose the metal washer on the bottom of the bolt, otherwise, you’ll just need to reach inside the toilet tank with a wrench and remove the bolts.
  7. Inspect the mounting bolts. If the bolts have a rust stain or hard water build up, you can soak them in White Vinegar as well. However, if the bolts are stripped or generally look old or the rust isn’t easily scrubbed off, you’ll need to replace them. 
  8. Now, you can remove the toilet tank from the toilet tank from the toilet bowl. When replacing the toilet tank or making fixes to the originally toilet tank, mounting it back onto the toilet is as easy as pie. You’ll need to inspect the rubber spud washer to ensure that it hasn’t become compromised or is crumbling due to age. If you’re good to go, you can begin by placing the toilet tank back on top of the toilet bowl carefully. 
  9. If you’ve chosen to re-use your old bolts, it’s recommended to scrub away can visibly rust or hard water build up with a small wire brush. To re-mount the toilet tank, you’ll need to screw in the bolts and tighten them with the basin wrench or adjustable wrench. Don’t tighten too much, just enough that it’s tight enough that there won’t be a water leak. 
  10. If you chose to re-use your old water supply line, it’s recommended to scrub away can visibly rust or hard water build up with a small wire brush. To re-connect the water supply line, you’ll need to screw the plastic nut back on to the water supply valve and use the vice gripers or pliers to tighten it. Do the same when reconnecting to water supply line to the bottom of the toilet tank. 
  11. Turn the water valve back on and allow for the toilet cistern to refill completely.
  12.  Check and make sure that you do not have any leaks coming from the toilet tank, the mounting bolts, or the water supply line by flushing the toilet 1-2 times. 

Most hardware and toilet supply stores will carry individual toilet tanks on hand in their stock. Anything can happen to your toilet tank may it be a crack, rust, or you just want to change it out for a nicer one. Removing your toilet tank and replacing it is a super easy job that doesn’t require a plumber.

       Just remember to read the boxes contents to ensure that all of the inner working pieces are included, otherwise you’ll need to buy them separately for your toilet to function properly. You’ll need to have a fill valve, rubber flapper, rubber gaskets, and mounting bolts.

       If you’re unsure whether or not to replace your water supply line and mounting bolts, it’s best to go ahead and replace them anyway. Having any kind of water leak can create hazardous problems and eventually become a costly project. Water leaks can affect the longevity of your toilet causing not only a higher water bill, but also the cost of a new toilet. 

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