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Anatomy of a Toilet

Have you ever wondered how a toilet actually works? It's actually pretty simple. There are a few parts that are crucial to a toilet powerful flush. When you flush the toilet by pressing down the flush handle, the rubber flapper, sometimes referred to as a float valve, is lifted up. This causes the water that was held in the toilet tank to rush into the bowl and flush the waste. As the water moves from the tank to the toilet bowl, the flapper slowly sinks again to seat on the flush valve. As the toilet flapper closes off the water to the bowl, the toilet fill valve, sometimes referred to as a ballcock, begins to bring water back into the toilet tank to recharge for the next flush.

Choose from the following options: 

  1. Learn more: Video below.
  2. If you are in need of new toilet replacement parts, click find part to find the correct repair parts for your toilet.
  3. If you want to learn more about common trouble troubleshooting topics, choose from the the list below.

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Step 1

Names of the toilet parts

Step 2

The fill valve (sometimes referred to as a ballcock) brings water into the tank after the toilet is flushed and stays on until the tank refills. Any time water exits the tank (such as when a flapper is leaking), the fill valve will turn on in order to maintain the water level. 

Step 3

The toilet flapper valve sits on the flush valve and is connected to the flush lever by a chain. When the toilet is flushed, the flapper lifts up off the flush valve seat and allows the water to exit the tank.

Step 4

When the toilet is flushed, water flows from the tank into the bowl through the flush valve.

Step 5

The purpose of the tank to bowl gasket is to provide a leak free seal between the toilet tank and bowl.

Step 6

An alternative to the traditional wax ring solution, the WaxFREE Seal Kit is a cleaner alternative to toilet installation. The wax free gasket creates a tight seal between the bottom of your toilet and your bathroom floor. This helps prevents water and sewer gases from leaking into your house. 

How does a Toilet Work?

661,250 May 20, 2014

How does a toilet fill valve work?

64,135 August 7, 2017

How does a toilet flapper work?

10,437 August 7, 2017

Korky Toilet Flush Valve Demonstration

118,429 May 20, 2014
How does a Toilet Work?
How does a toilet fill valve work?
How does a toilet flapper work?
Korky Toilet Flush Valve Demonstration

Product solutions

Korky 4010 Complete Kit
Part Number: 
4010
  • Fix your leaking, noisy, or running toilet in 1 trip
  • The complete kit includes a fill valve, flush valve, flapper, and tank-to-bowl hardware
99-4 Beehive Max Toilet Plunger
Part Number: 
99-4
  • Guaranteed to fit all toilet bowl shapes and sizes
  • As seen in This Old HouseĀ® Best New Home Products
  • Easy plunge T-handle design