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Stop Wasting Water -- Replace Your Toilet Today

Want to save money on your water bill? You don't have to stop taking daily showers or cut down on the number of laundry loads you wash per week, but you may want to replace your water-wasting toilets.

In 1994, Congress reduced the amount of water newly manufactured toilets in the U.S. could flush from 3.5 to 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). Homes built prior to this date more than likely have toilets that are still using nearly two more gallons of water than necessary. "Typically, older 3.5-gallon toilet models consume 11,000 more gallons of water per year for a family of four over the now industry-standard 1.6-gallon toilets available," explains Ed Del Grande, Kohler's "how-to" plumbing expert and host of a national home improvement show on DIY, the Do It Yourself Network. "Consumers now have the opportunity -- and really an obligation -- to upgrade to a toilet that uses 1.6 gallons of water or less."

While hiring a licensed plumber to swap out an older toilet for a new low-flow model is an excellent option, innovative features on today's toilets now make it easy for handy do-it-yourselfers to complete the job in just six easy-to-follow steps.

Step 1: Gather materials and tools The tools you will need to install a toilet are a sponge and bucket, plunger, putty knife, rag, wrench, socket set, level, and hacksaw. Materials you will need to purchase include a flexible toilet supply line, wax ring, bolts, toilet (bowl and tank), and toilet seat.

Step 2: Remove the existing toilet Turn off the water supply to the existing toilet and flush to remove water from the bowl and tank. Use a large sponge to soak up any remaining water from the tank and use a plunger to push excess water out of the bowl. Disconnect the water supply line from the inlet valve, usually located on the bottom left of the tank. More than likely the old toilet is a 2-piece model so you will need to unscrew the bolts that connect the tank to the bowl to remove the tank. Then unscrew the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor to completely remove the old toilet. Remove the old wax ring and scrape off any additional residue left behind on the toilet flange with a putty knife. Once the toilet is removed, there will be an open line to the sewer system. Stuff a rag into the hole to prevent small tools from falling into the hole and to avoid the possibility of sewer gases backing up into the home.

Step 3: Place the new toilet bowl in position If the toilet flange is damaged, stop the process and contact a plumber. If the flange is in good condition, insert new bolts into the flange's notches. Then press the new wax ring, flat side facing down, over the flange. Don't forget to remove the rag from the flange opening. Lower the toilet bowl gently onto the flange so that the holes in the base align with the bolts in the flange. Press the bowl firmly down -- do not twist or rock -- on the wax ring. Place the washers and nuts onto the bolts and hand tighten. To prevent the toilet from cracking, tighten the nuts one quarter turn at a time with a wrench and alternate sides of the toilet between each quarter turn. If the bolts extend too far over the top of the washers and nuts, cut off the excess length with a hacksaw.

Step 4: Attach the tank The tank is then set down on the toilet and securely fasten the tank. Place a level across the top of the tank and the backside of the bowl to ensure that the toilet is level with the floor and water is distributed evenly throughout the tank.

Step 5: Attach the supply line and check for leaks Once the tank is securely fastened to the bowl attach the water supply line to the toilet's inlet valve. If the previous supply line was constructed of solid tubing, install a flexible water supply line before attaching to the toilet's inlet valve. Turn on the water supply valve and allow the toilet to fill. Flush the toilet several times to check for leaks. If there are no leaks, apply a bead of silicone caulk or grout around the base of the toilet to help secure it in place. Place the lid on top of the tank.

Step 6: Attach the toilet seat Attach the toilet seat using the supplied hinges and screws.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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