Overview of the Parts of a Toilet


Not knowing how your toilet works can be a major, and disgusting, problem in the event of a clog or malfunction. Fortunately, getting acquainted with your bathroom’s MVP isn’t difficult. All you need is a quick refresher.

The Parts of Your Toilet

Your toilet may seem complicated, but it’s actually a fairly simple system—and one that’s easy to repair once you’re familiar with the parts. This diagram will help you get acquainted with the inner workings of your toilet.

  • Refill Tube: Your refill tube brings fresh water into the tank after a flush.
  • Float: Your float is a valve that rises ​with the in-tank water level and turns off the fill valve once it’s reached the fill line.
  • Chain: Your valve chain is connected to your toilet’s handle and allows it to open and close the flapper.
  • Flapper: The flapper is a seal that keeps water in your toilet’s tank until you’re ready to flush.
  • Shut-Off Valve: Your shut-off valve allows you to control the flow of water to your toilet.
  • Wax Seal: Your wax seal creates an airtight barrier between your toilet and the sewer line.
  • Floor Flange: Your floor flange secures your toilet and wax seal to the sewer opening.
  • Tank O-Ring Seal: Your tank o-ring creates a watertight seal between your toilet tank and the bowl.

How Your Toilet Works

Toilets rely on a few simple systems to get rid of waste. Here’s a look at what happens after you flush.

  1. When you push or pull the handle, the flush valve chain opens the flapper and allows all of the water in your tank to flow into the bowl.
  2. The water is then siphoned out of the bowl and through a tube connected to your home’s sewer or septic system.
  3. Once the tank is empty, the flapper closes and seals off the tank until the next time the handle is pushed.
  1. The fill valve then cycles on and brings fresh water into the tank. As the water rises, so does the float. Your float will shut off the supply valve once it reaches the fill line. Any excess water is cycled out of your tank by the overflow tube.
  2. Your toilet is now ready for its next flush.