How to Install a Toilet Wax Ring Like a Professional
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The toilet wax ring is an appliance that creates a soft and flexible barrier between some of the more solid parts of a toilet. Most toilets are made out of porcelain, the wax ring is placed around the exit hole at the end of the fixture and is attached to the flange which sits on top of a drainpipe. A flange is typically made from polyvinyl plastic, but in older homes it is generally made out of cast iron.
Over time, a wax ring will either harden or break which leads to a host of problems in the bathroom. Knowing how to replace a wax ring will save you money, time and a potential mess later on down the line.
Once the toilet has been removed, putting a new wax ring on is an easy job if you know what to do. If you want to know how to install a toilet wax ring, keep reading.
When Should I Change the Toilet Wax Ring?
A Foul Odour
Even though toilets are used to do stinky things, you don't necessarily want it to remain smelly. The toilet wax ring prevents unpleasant smells from flooding your home. Apart from the terrible smell, sewer gases contain hydrogen sulfide gas which are not good for the health. It is likely that your wax ring is broken if there is a fowl sewer like odour in your home.
A Wobbly Toilet
In general, a wobbly toilet means that the flange is broken, if the flange needs replacing then so does the wax ring. If the bolts that are used to screw down the toilet to the flange loosen over time, or weren't screwed in properly in the first place, it is likely that the wax ring will break from the strain of the constant movement.
A Leaky Toilet
Wax rings prevent water and waste from spilling out onto the bathroom floor by forcing it directly down the drain. If there is water around the toilet, it is possible that the wax ring is broken. However, there are also other faults that could have caused a leak, so make sure you check these before replacing the wax ring,
Moving the Toilet
For whatever reason, you might need to move the toilet, if so, you are going to have to replace the wax ring as well. Just by moving the toilet from its original position, even if its only slightly can break the wax ring.
So now that you know why you would need to replace a toilet wax ring, here are some instructions on how to install one. Slightly obvious, but the first thing you will need is to purchase a new wax ring, they are relatively cheap and won't cost you more than $5.
There are some wax rings that don't have the extra flange attached. The only time you are going to need one of these is when the floor is raised, but the toilet floor flange has not been raised. In this instance, there is a chance that one wax ring will not be thick enough for a seal. If you experience this, you will have to add another ring that doesn't have a flange.
Removing the Toilet
Getting the toilet off the floor is not an easy task, and there is a specific way to do it so that you don't make a mess.
Step 1: Turn off the water supply to the toilet. The shut off valve should be located on the floor or wall underneath the toilet tank.
Step 2: Drain most of the water out of the tank by flushing the toilet.
Step 3: There will still be some water left in the tank and toilet bowl. To empty all the water out of the tank, you will need to unscrew the large nut underneath the tank. The nut underneath this is for the water supply line, to unscrew it, use a large adjustable wrench or adjustable pliers. Place a bucket underneath the connection as the water drains out of the tank.
Unscrew the nut until the water is released from the rubber seal. The tank should be empty after this, if not, then soak up the remaining water with a rag. Once you have finished, tighten the nut again.
Step 4: Put on some gloves and remove most of the remaining water with a plunger, you will have to scoop the rest out with a small cup or soak it up with a rag.
Step 5: Keep the water supply turned off and take the water supply line out of the tank. Unscrew the nut that is just underneath the nut that secures the toilet fill valve in place. For this task, you can use adjustable pliers, on most newer toilets, the nut is plastic, on older toilets it is brass or chrome.
Take the nut off so that the supply line is no longer attached to the tank. At this point, your toilet should be dry enough for removal, but check the bowl and the tank one last time to make sure there is no water left before removing it.
Now it's time to install the wax ring; below are the instructions.
Step 1: Wipe down the surfaces and underneath the toilet bowl and floor range.
Step 2: Unscrew the floor bolts and screw the new bolts into the retainer washer. At this point, the flange should be facing towards the floor flange.
Step 3: Place the wax ring onto the bowl outlet and press downwards. The plastic flange should be facing away from the bowl.
Step 4: Put the bowl in place, and push down on it using your body weight to compress the wax. Spread the wax by twisting the bowl slightly.
Step 5: Place the following over the bolt one on top of the other: The bolt cover washer, the metal washer and the acorn nut. DO NOT SCREW THE NUT BOLTS ON TOO TIGHT! Carefully tighten the nut to prevent it from breaking the bowl. Cut the bolt with a hacksaw a quarter of an inch above the acorn nut.
Step 6: File down the burrs on the nut and put the bolt cap over the top.
Step 7: Put the bolt cap over the top of the bolt and pop it onto the bolt cover washer.
Hopefully you have now learnt how to remove a toilet and replace a damaged toilet wax ring; both of which will keep your bathroom in perfect working order. But, if you want a professional to do it for you, there is an excellent plumbing company in the Langley area to help you out.