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How does a toilet work? A detailed article on the key components of a toilet

Have you ever wondered how a toilet works? The toilet is an integral part of most people’s daily lives, yet many do not understand the basic workings of the device. So, it’s always good to know the different components so one can easily troubleshoot, when the need arise.

The basic components of the toilet are the – the tank and the bowl. But if you’ll explore in depth you’ll see that there are various other functional components like o-ring seal, floor flange, wax seal, handle, float, flapper, refill tube, and shut-off valve. All these components play their part in proper functioning of a toilet.

So, in our today’s blog post will explain the basics of toilet operation and the key components of a toilet.

Let’s dive in and explore the basics of toilet operations.

Understanding the Parts of a Toilet

The bowl of the toilet is a container that holds water. It has a drain that disposes the waste water as well as the waste. The tank that sits atop the bowl has the reserve water that you can use for refilling or flushing the bowl. It has a mechanism of refilling to a certain level to keep the devise flushing functional.

Toilet Bowl

The toilet bowl is the large base made of vitreous china clay and it makes a seat on which the user sits. It has a round hole to accept waste along with the internal C-shaped trap. The trap is designed to hold water that acts as a barrier for the odors and gases produced by the sewage. It also helps to prevent the waste from backing up into the bathroom.

O-Ring Seal

The O-Ring seal is a crucial part of the toilet and plays an important role in preventing water from leaking out of the tank. It is typically a rubber or wax washer that fits between the bottom of the toilet tank and the top of the toilet bowl. If the O-ring seal is not installed properly, it can lead to water leaking out of the tank and onto the floor. It is also possible for the O-ring seal to become cracked or worn over time, which could also result in a leak. To prevent water leakage, it is important to check the O-ring seal regularly and make sure it is securely in place.

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Floor Flange

It’s a bracket at the top of the sewer pipe projecting out from the floor. It connects the toilet bowl with the sewer pipe and is firmly attached with the help of screws or bolts.

To ensure a tight seal between the floor and the toilet bowl, the toilet attaches to the flange with T-bolts. This ensures that the toilet is securely in place and also prevents water and waste from leaking out.

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Wax Seal

When installing a new toilet, it is important to use a wax seal in order to ensure a proper installation. It is also important to use a high-quality wax seal that is designed for your particular toilet. Wax seals can be used only once and should be replaced if there is any damage or wear. A good quality wax seal will last for many years and help keep your toilet running smoothly.

Before installing a wax seal, you should always clean and dry the area around the toilet bowl and floor flange. This will ensure that the seal is properly installed and will not leak. Once the area is ready, you can place the wax seal into position and use the recommended adhesive to secure it in place.


The toilet handle is a lever located on the toilet tank that is used to flush the toilet. The handle is usually connected to a chain, which then connects to the flapper valve. When you press the handle, it lifts the flapper valve allowing water to be released from the tank and into the bowl.

This causes the water in the bowl to flush away any waste and debris, while simultaneously refilling the tank. The handle should be easy to press down and lift back up, and it should not be too stiff.

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The float is responsible for managing the water level in the toilet tank. It is usually a round plastic or aluminum ball that is buoyant enough to float on top of the water.

When you flush the toilet, the flapper at the bottom of the tank opens and allows water to flow into the bowl. This causes the water level in the tank to lower and the float to drop, signaling the fill valve to start adding more water to the tank. This process keeps the tank full until the next flush, ensuring a reliable flushing performance.

It is important to make sure that the float is properly adjusted so that it accurately regulates the water level in the tank. If it is too high, it may cause water to overflow from the tank into the bowl. If it is too low, it can cause issues with your toilet flushing properly.

Refill tube

Inside the tank, there is a fill valve which is responsible for filling the tank with water after each flush. There is also an overflow tube which prevents too much water from entering the tank. When the water level in the tank rises, it will shut off the flow of water automatically.

Fun Fact:

On About Us | Plumbing Tulsa | Acts of Service Plumbing, you’ll find how our owner Rick Hudson overcame his early plumbing challenges. Learn more about our leaders and team.

One of many great companies we’ve had the pleasure of serving is making a difference in the Tulsa and surrounding areas. Visit their website: Paul Davis Corporate – Restoration and Emergency Service Provider.

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