Dear John; Or Saying Goodbye to an Old Toilet

Dear John; Or Saying Goodbye to an Old Toilet

Replacing an old toilet isn’t as hard as you may think. All toilets come with do-it-yourself instructions, but here is a primer to remove a typical two-piece toilet to let you know what you’re really in for. Warning: crude material forthcoming.

Tank Withdrawal

First you’ll need to turn off the water at the supply line and the flush the toilet. Because the water is turned off, the tank will not fill up and the bowl will drain. At least that’s the theory.

Next, disconnect the water supply from the bottom of the tank. The tank will probably leak some excess water at the connection, so have a bucket handy to catch any drips. Loosen tank bolts and lift off tank. Again, there might be some dripage, but don’t worry, THIS water is clean.

Off With the Head!

Now we get down to the business of the bowl. Undo the bolts at the base of the toilet. If there is any caulk at its base, you’ll need to loosen it with a pocketknife or utility knife. Gently rock the bowl to make sure it is free, and then lift it off. Because of the weight and cumbersome nature of the thing, you’ll probably need a friend for this part. Make that a good friend; the same person who’ll hold your hair back when you puke, because the last time your face was this close to the toilet, you were probably doing just that: puking.

The Black Hole

After the toilet is free, you’re going to see a very dark, nasty hole. At this point it’s hard not to ponder all the poop that has gone before. But try not to think about it. Stuff an old towel into the hole to prevent sewer gas from escaping.

Around the towel-stuffed hole you’ll see something called a wax ring. It has the consistency and color of earwax, and it needs to be removed, so dig in. A putty knife will be your best bet for this step. Clean up residue with rubbing alcohol. Lastly, remove any remaining caulk from the flooring. 

Now, besides installing a new toilet, which we’ll cover in tomorrow’s post, all you have to do is dispose of the old one. How about taking it out to the front lawn and making a feature of it? A lovely planter, perhaps? Fairies, apparently, love them.