Parts of a Toilet: What They Are and How to Fix Them


A toilet is made up of several different parts that work together to flush away waste. Knowing the names and functions of these toilet parts can help you troubleshoot issues and make repairs when needed. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over all the main toilet components, explain what they do, and provide tips on how to fix common problems.

The Tank

The tank sits above and behind the bowl and holds fresh water for flushing. It contains several key parts:

Float Ball

This floating ball is connected to the fill valve and controls the water level in the tank. As the tank empties, the ball drops and the fill valve opens to refill the tank to the set level. If the water continuously runs into the tank, the float ball may need adjusting.

Fill Valve

Also known as the ballcock, this valve is connected to the water supply line and refills the tank when the float ball drops. Make sure it’s installed at the manufacturer’s recommended height. Adjust it if the water level is too high or low.

Flush Valve

Located in the center of the tank, this rubber valve seals the bottom tank opening through which water flows into the bowl. When the flush lever is pushed, the chain raises the valve to start the flush. A leaky flush valve that doesn’t seal properly must be replaced.

Overflow Tube

This vertical tube runs from the fill valve down into the overflow drain. It drains away excess water if the tank level gets too high, preventing spillover. Debris clogging the tube must be removed.

Flush Lever

The lever mounted on the outside of the tank is connected to the flapper valve on the inside via a chain. Pushing the lever lifts the valve to start the flush. Adjust the chain if needed so the valve raises completely.

Tank Bolts

These bolts hold the tank securely to the bowl. Loose, corroded bolts should be tightened or replaced to prevent leaks.

Toilet Bowl

The toilet bowl holds the water used for flushing and channels waste into the drainpipe. Key parts are:


This is the top edge around the bowl opening. Water jets under the rim create a circular flushing action to wash down waste. Mineral deposits and staining should be cleaned off the rim.

Water Jets

Small holes under the rim shoot water into the bowl when flushing occurs. Clogged jets can be poked open with a thin wire.


The trapway curves around the bottom of the bowl and connects to the drainpipe. If clogged, it should be snaked out thoroughly.

Floor Flange

This ring mounts the toilet to the floor and covers the drain opening. The toilet bolts pass through holes in the flange. A loose, leaking flange needs resealing or replacing.

Wax Ring

This ring seals the gap between the toilet bottom and the floor flange, preventing leaks and odors. A damaged wax ring should be removed and replaced with a new one.

Closet Bolts

These bolts pass through the base of the toilet and anchor it firmly to the floor flange. Loose bolts can result in rocking and leaks.

Toilet Seat

The toilet seat and cover provide a sanitary surface to sit on. Problems include:

  • Loose hinges—Tighten the nut holding the hinge to the toilet.
  • Broken seat—Replace the entire toilet seat if cracked or warped.
  • Stains/grime—Scrub with a toilet cleaner and nylon brush.

Common Toilet Problems and Repairs

Clogged Toilet

Clogs occur when too much toilet paper or other objects get lodged in the trapway. Try a plunger first. For stubborn clogs, use a closet auger or call a plumber if needed.

Leaking Toilet

If the bowl water level is high, water may leak into the overflow tube. Adjust the float so it’s not so high. Leaks around the base mean the wax seal is damaged. Remove the toilet to replace the wax ring.

Running Toilet

This constant flow of water into the bowl is most often caused by a bad flapper valve. Try cleaning it first before replacing the entire flush valve assembly.

Weak Flush

Low water flow or clogged jets can lead to an ineffective flush. Scrub the rim holes with a wire brush. Make sure the water level covers the flush valve intake.

Noisy Tank

The fill valve may need adjusting if the tank “runs” continuously. Cease the noise by replacing worn out washers and valves.

Loose Toilet

If the bowl rocks, tighten the floor bolts. Severe wobbling means the wax ring seal is broken. Remove the toilet to install a new wax ring and bolts.

When to Call a Plumber

While minor repairs can be DIY, there are times to call in a professional:

  • Replacing the wax ring seal
  • Dealing with corroded floor flange or bolts
  • Snake clogged drain line and trapway
  • Replace defective tank parts
  • Install a new high-efficiency toilet
  • Detect and fix hidden leaks

Knowing your toilet’s parts empowers you to attempt minor repairs. But don’t hesitate to call in an expert plumber for major issues or if a DIY fix fails. Catching problems early saves more extensive repairs down the road. With routine maintenance and care, your toilet can function smoothly for years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Toilet Parts

What are the main parts of a toilet tank?

The main parts inside the tank are the float ball, fill valve, flush valve, overflow tube, and flush lever chain. These components work together to refill the tank after flushing and release the water to flush waste down.

Why does my toilet keep running?

A continuously running toilet is likely due to problems with the tank parts. The float ball may be set too high, keeping the fill valve open. Or an improperly seated flapper valve lets water through. Adjusting these parts stops the running.

What causes low water level in the toilet bowl?

If the water level sits lower than normal, the tank fill valve may need adjusting. Lower the float ball so more water flows into the tank to achieve the right bowl water height for proper flushing.

My toilet bowl water leaks onto the floor – what’s wrong?

A damaged wax ring seal between the toilet and floor flange is most likely causing leaks at the base. This seal needs to be replaced by removing the toilet and installing a new wax ring.

What do I do if my toilet is clogged?

For a clogged toilet, try a plunger first to forcefully dislodge obstructions. If that doesn’t work, use a closet auger to snake out the trapway. Avoid chemical drain cleaners as they can damage pipes. Calling a plumber is advised for severe clogs.

Why does my toilet rock and wobble?

Loose floor bolts underneath the toilet can make it unsteady and rock back and forth. Tighten these bolts or replace them if needed to firmly re-anchor the toilet to the floor flange.

How often should I replace my toilet flapper?

You should replace the rubber flapper valve about every 5-7 years. Signs it needs replacing are leaks, an improper seal, and the need to hold the lever down to flush completely. Replacing the flapper prevents running water.


Knowing the various toilet components and how they operate is key to identifying issues and undertaking do-it-yourself repairs. Pay attention to your toilet’s performance and inspect parts regularly for needed maintenance. But for major replacement or snaking clogged drains, rely on an experienced plumber. With routine care and fixing minor problems as they arise, your toilet can work effectively for many years.