Are you getting the feeling that your toilet cistern’s days are seriously numbered? It may have served you well with a million successful flushes, but something’s not quite right lately when you hit that button and expect the magic to happen – and it doesn’t. So before we get to how to replace a toilet cistern in a jiffy, let’s see if it’s even necessary in the first place:

It’s true that your toilet issue just might be caused by something else. But in most cases, it’s the cistern – the part that houses all the ready-to-flush water and the inner flush mechanism – that is the culprit. And while you might have gotten lucky and got a couple of decades out of your existing cistern, especially if your maintenance routine was strict, it’s just a fact that these relatively simple toilet components still wear out in the end. But luckily, learning how to replace toilet cistern units isn’t too difficult at all.

Changing toilet cistern at home

How often is your toilet playing up? As suggested above, occasional toilet maintenance is just a fact of life. But if you’re constantly battling your toilet, it’s probably a good idea to simply replace the whole cistern – but don’t worry, it’s not expensive at all if you’re going to replace the toilet cistern only.

If you are going down this road, the next step is to make sure the replacement you buy is fully-compatible with the rest of your toilet. If you’re lucky, your old one may even be in warranty, and if you can’t find the identical brand/model just double-check all the specifications match up.

Got your new cistern handy? Great stuff: now it’s time to learn how to replace a cistern in a flash!

1. Shut off the old cistern

First, flush the toilet so that all the stored water is removed from the old cistern. Next, find the lever or tap for the water supply at the bottom of the old tank and turn it off. Flush the toilet another time to double-check all the water is gone.

2. Remove the old cistern

Get an adjustable wrench and remove the water inlet pipe from the bottom of the tank completely. Be careful, because the pipe may have some water in it.

Next, find the screws or bolts underneath the tank and undo them, loosening the cistern from the actual bowl. Again, watch out for excess water but don’t worry – the bulk of the water is gone and the water supply is off.

Tip: When you’re lifting the old cistern out, keep an eye out for any loose washers and note where they came from.

3. Replace toilet cistern

Now we’re going to put the replacement cistern exactly where the old one was. Aim the rubber gasket at the bottom of the new unit to where the flush water enters the toilet pan. Now, attach them together with the fixing bolts, not forgetting the all-important washers that make it all water-tight.

Tip: Don’t tighten those washers too much, as you can cause damage.

4. Finish the installation

With a bit of luck, everything has lined up beautifully straight and level. If it’s not quite right, use a spirit level so that you’re not spending the next decade feeling frustrated! You may also find that the attachment holes in the back of the cistern line up perfectly, but it’s possible you’ll need to drill new holes into the wall.

5. You’re all done!

Simply re-connect the water inlet pipe, turn the water supply back on, listen to your new cistern fill up with flush water, check for leaks, do a test flush … and we’re all done!

Replacing a toilet cistern with Ryan Old Plumbing

Oh-oh! Do you still need help with your toilet cistern replacement? Although a toilet cistern replacement is plumbing work you’re allowed to do without a fully-licensed plumber to help, that doesn’t mean a plumber can’t help!

Here at Ryan Old Plumbing, we’ve been installing, replacing and repairing toilets all over Brisbane, Gold Coast and beyond for years and years. From something as simple as a repaired flush mechanism to comprehensive bathroom renovations, we’ve seen and done it all in Queensland’s landscape of toilets!

We’re fast, efficient, affordable and friendly, so give our trusted local Brisbane plumbers a call today and we’ll be there in a jiffy.