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Using a toilet may not seem like a privilege, but it really is. Believe it or not, a sizeable chunk of the world’s population need to dispose of their waste without the help of a flushing, plumbed-in toilet – which is among the world’s innovations that have done the most to make our daily lives healthier and more convenient. But what about when you press that button and the toilet won’t flush? What about if it’s down to a trickle, or is constantly running or leaking? In most cases, the problem is not with the toilet itself, but with the cistern – the tank part that not only holds the flushable water, but also the components that make the flush happen. So let’s take a dive into how to replace a toilet cistern all by yourself.

But first things first: do you even need to replace the whole thing? The answer is probably not:

  • Phantom flush: Did you just hear your toilet start to refill for no apparent reason? What’s going on here is probably a slow tank leak, which is probably an issue with the flapper – the round, rubber bit that regulates the flow from the tank to the bowl.
  • Night-time hissing: We call it ‘night time’ hissing because you sometimes can’t hear the sound during the busier day. But when you do, you’re probably hearing the supply line that won’t stop delivering water to the tank – in which case, it could be the float, the refill tube or the inlet assembly.
  • A major leak: Other toilet leaks could be seals, with one of the most common to fail to be the one between the cistern and the bowl. Oftentimes, the cistern could be leaking itself. Because you’ll have to remove the cistern to deal with these issues, it might be a great time to do some shopping for a brand new, modern one. And if your fiddling around with the cistern internals is only making things worse, the low cost of an all-new cistern may surprise you.

How to change a toilet cistern

In Queensland, there are quite a few things a handy homeowner can do without the need for a licensed plumber, including bits and bobs related to fixing and changing toilet cistern parts like:

  • Drop valve washers
  • Float valve washers
  • Suction cup rubber

As for the whole shebang, this is where we have to give a warning. To protect your home, your community, your family’s health & safety, and your insurance (and peace of mind), only a fully licensed local plumber like the friendly guys at Gold Coast Plumbing Experts can do more significant plumbing work like replacing toilet cistern.

So, just for the record, let’s quickly summarise the basic step-to-step guide to changing toilet cistern tanks in their entirety:

1. Flush the toilet

You’re going to create a huge mess if we tell you how to remove a toilet cistern without emptying the water in the old one!

2. Turn off the stop tap

It’s the only tap you should see near your toilet.

3. Grab the screwdriver

The handiest among you will use a power drill, but what you’re looking to un-do is the nut connecting the water supply to the cistern. After that, there are a couple of other nuts attaching the bowl to the cistern, and finally, a couple more securing the back of the unit to the wall.

4. Lift off the old cistern

With the nuts and screws all removed, it should be a rather easy task to separate the cistern completely. Watch out for any leftover water.

5. Check the new cistern

Hopefully, you’ve bought a replacement cistern that is 100% compatible not only with your existing bowl, but also with the space around your toilet.

6. Attach the new cistern

If you’ve managed to get the old cistern off, it shouldn’t be too difficult to reverse-engineer the situation to install the new one. Start with the two cistern bolts, with the metal washer to go on before the rubber one on the unit’s underside.

7. Complete the process

Next up, the rest of the nuts and screws you removed earlier need to go back home! Start with the washers, move on to the nuts that secure the bowl to the cistern, and finish with re-attaching the water supply.

Why not just call the Gold Coast’s toilet cistern experts!

But let’s face it: While you can live with a carpet stain or a dripping tap for a while, life isn’t going to be much fun if your toilet cistern has given up the ghost. Gold Coast Plumbing Experts has established a trusted reputation for rapid, affordable toilet repairs and replacements – and changing toilet cistern components is one of the simplest jobs of all for our experienced guys. With upfront pricing, guaranteed workmanship forever, and even a free plumbing inspection, there’s no reason to try anyone else – so put your toilet cistern back in working order by giving Gold Coast Plumbing Experts a call right now.