How Your Toilet Works – Parts And Pieces

plumber fixing a toilet valve

 If there is one home item that is essential to be fully operational at all times, it’s your toilet. We’ve talked about drain clogs in our previous blog, but that only touches the surface of what we know about bathroom damage. There’s a lot to know about what can go wrong with your toilet and how to avoid many of these issues. Sometimes these problems are simple enough for you to fix yourself, but many of them require a professional. You don’t want to have to replace an entire toilet, so here’s how your toilet works and the problems that could come with it.

Toilet Pieces & Parts

Your toilet is made of two main parts: the bowl and the upper tank, which holds water that is released when you flush. The bowl is not much more than a solid drain fixture with no moving parts within it. Only in rare instances does the bowl ever need some kind of repair.

On the other hand, the tank is where the two vital valves are located and the handle that creates the flush action. Also, know that some modern toilets will differ from older ones in terms of the flushing design and parts. Knowing the make, model, and manufacturer of it will save everyone a lot of time and effort when fixing it. You can usually find the manufacturer’s name on the underside of the tank cover. 

Toilet Tank Essentials 

The tank of the toilet will hold water until it is flushed down. The water in the tank will rush through an opening in the bottom and into the bowl, which then forces waste out of the toilet and into the drain and sewer lines. All in all, two main components within the tank make this action occur: the flush valve and the fill valve (sometimes known as the ballcock).

The toilet valve has a mechanism that fills the tank with water. It’s known as the “ballcock” or “refill valve.” The fill valve is most often located on the left side of the tank if you’re looking down with the lid off. The fill valves will come in different variations, including: 

  • Plunger-type ballcock: the oldest type most often made of brass
  • Diaphragm-type ballcock: A common type where older models may be made of brass, but modern types are made of plastic. 
  • Float cup fill valve: a modern design made of plastic
  • Floatless fill valve: a modern but not so common type that is not allowed by some codes

Whichever design your toilet may have, the fill valve will automatically open the water supply valve when the water levels deplete in the tank during flushing. It will then shut off automatically when the water level rises back up to a specific level. Depending on the design your toilet has, the valve will be operated by a floating ball or float cup that moves with the water level. 

Common Toilet Problems 

Some of the most common toilet issues we see come from just wear and tear or just heavy usage over years and years. Some of the common parts that need attention can include:

  • Replacing a ballcock
  • Repairing the flush valve 
  • Fixing a running toilet 
  • Fixing a loose flush handle
  • Leaks at the toilet base
  • Clogs

Genevie Plumbing Can Fix Your Toilet 

Understanding the parts of your toilet is one thing, but repairing it is another matter altogether. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will go over common repairs and DIY quick fixes to keep your toilet running until a professional plumber can arrive. If you have any toilet or plumbing problems, give Genevie Plumbing a call so we can send someone over right away. 

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