How To Easily Replace Your Toilet's Flush Valve

Branching out into the world of plumbing to repair or replace parts of your toilet can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. As it turns out, most issues with toilets are fairly simple to repair, and finding out what's going on inside your toilet tank and replacing parts yourself is much more cost-effective than hiring a handyperson to do so for you. This holds true when it comes to flush valves as well, though the process can be a bit more tedious and time-consuming than something like tightening the flush handle. 

This component serves the incredibly important purpose of allowing water from the tank of your toilet to flow into the bowl and stopping the flow once it's full enough. If you look into the tank of your toilet, this part is one of the easiest things to locate thanks to its size — it's the large, cylindrical piece connected to a small flapper at the bottom of the bowl. Because replacing this part takes a bit more time and effort, however, it's important to first diagnose your issue before heading straight into any unnecessary repairs.

How to tell if you need to replace your flush valve

One of the most common symptoms of needing to replace your flush valve is if your toilet continues to run long after you flush it. The flush valve's job is to open and close the flapper in your toilet and either allow or prevent water to flow into the bowl. If one or more of these components are worn out or not working entirely, however, water will keep flowing from one part to another regardless.

If this is your problem, it's a good idea to look at the state of your flapper first. This issue can be caused by a damaged flapper that isn't able to make a tight seal and prevent the flow of water. Replacing your worn-out toilet flapper is much simpler and less expensive than replacing the entire mechanism, so if it looks like it's in bad shape, try swapping it for a new one to see if your issues decrease or disappear altogether. If this doesn't work, however, you can be fairly certain that the flush valve is at fault.

How to replace your flush valve

To replace your flush valve, you will first need to drain the toilet and disconnect the water supply to prevent any flooding or splashes. Next, you need to remove the entire toilet tank. This is connected to the bowl of the toilet by bolts, so you should twist, unscrew, or saw them off if they're corroded until you're able to disconnect the two pieces. Place the tank on something soft to avoid any cracking, then get to work removing the old flush valve.

Find the foam piece covering the mounting nut and remove it, then unscrew and remove the flush valve. Once you're left with this hole, you can install the new one. Your package will likely have more specific instructions for the model you purchased, but most require you to install the large washer onto the tailpiece and then insert the flush valve into place from the inside of the tank. Once everything is screwed back in, you can put the tank back into position, reconnect the flush valve to your old components, connect the flapper, and turn your water back on.