Suburban Plumbing Blog

Plumbing Articles from Orange County, CA.

Home » The Fascinating Anatomy of a Toilet

The Fascinating Anatomy of a Toilet


Anatomy of a Toilet

After a long car ride, you fumble with your keys and throw open the door. You run towards the bathroom, anxious to finally relieve yourself after holding it for so long.

Finished with your business, you sigh with relief. You reach for the toilet handle and flush the toilet without thinking. Or, since you’ve made it to this article, maybe you finally did start thinking.

The toilet is one of the things taken most for granted in homes. But how does it work? Continue reading to learn the fascinating anatomy of a toilet, as well as a few things that can go wrong with these basic parts.


The toilet handle is a part most of us are familiar with. It’s what you push down to get the toilet flushing. In some newer toilets, the handle is replaced by a push-button.

When you pull down on the handle, it isn’t magic that makes water flow into the toilet. What actually happens is that a trip lever or pull chain is attached to the internal part of the handle. It moves upwards when you pull down.

The lever or chain is attached to the toilet flapper. The only difference between a trip lever and a chain is their construction. A lever is a solid, straight piece, while a chain is usually made of small beaded sections.

Toilet Flapper Valve

The toilet flapper valve is seated on the flush valve. It’s connected to the flush lever (the internal part of the handle) by a lever or chain, as described above. When a toilet is flushed, the flapper is lifted from the flush valve seat. This allows water to exit the tank.

Flush Valve

When water exits the tank, it should do so with great force. This force comes streaming into your toilet bowl. The water’s force or pressure is what enables your toilet to carry waste and toilet paper down into the pipes.

The flush valve is the part of toilet anatomy that allows water to enter the bowl. Like it sounds, the toilet bowl is the sizeable bowl-shaped part where you do your business. The seat is attached to the bowl to allow for a more comfortable sitting experience while taking care of business.

Fill Valve

A fill valve is also known as a ballcock. The purpose of the fill valve is to bring water back into the tank after it’s been emptied from flushing. The fill valve will continue to allow water into the tank until it’s been refilled to an appropriate level.

How does the fill valve know when the tank has been refilled just enough? A part called the float works to close off the valve once it’s floated as high as it’s allowed.

Tank to Bowl Gasket

The tank to bowl gasket doesn’t necessarily serve a part in actually flushing waste. Instead, it provides a seal between the toilet tank and the bowl that doesn’t allow for leaks. Without this gasket, the water pressure would be lower and may not be enough to efficiently flush the toilet.

Toilet Flange

A flange is anything used to attach one object to another. In this circumstance, a toilet flange is used to attach the toilet securely to the floor. A wax or rubber seal is used for additional security against leaks and to provide extra holding strength.

Common Problems Stemming From Basic Toilet Anatomy

Sometimes issues with the toilet have to do with problems with the pipes. Other times, it has to do with the parts of a toilet itself.

If a toilet is leaking, it could be a crack anywhere in the bowl or tank. If the leak seems to be coming from between the tank and bowl, the gasket may be to blame. However, if the toilet is leaking from its floor connection, it may be an issue with the flange or surrounding seal.

If a toilet doesn’t flush at all, the problem could be as simple as a broken toilet chain. The chain or lever could have either snapped or could have become disconnected from the flush lever.

Is water overflowing from the back of your toilet tank? This might mean the floater is no longer working correctly. Sometimes, these can become disconnected from other essential parts of the toilet tank.

Is your toilet bowl not filling up with water the way it’s supposed to? This could also indicate an issue with the flush lever or attached chain. It could also be an issue with the flush valve.

If your tank isn’t filling up with water, this is likely a problem with your toilet’s fill valve. If the fill valve can’t open, it isn’t able to allow water into the tank.

What if There’s an Issue With Your Toilet Unrelated to Clogs?

Most people know how to deal with clogged toilets. You can start by trying a plunger, which works for minor clogs. If that doesn’t work, you call a plumber.

But what if there’s an issue with your toilet unrelated to clogs?

The best thing you can do is call a local, dependable plumber to help with your problem. A plumber doesn’t just unclog toilets. They have an advanced understanding of the anatomy of a toilet, which allows them to fix any related issues.

Do You Have More Questions About the Fascinating Anatomy of a Toilet?

You might have never thought about the anatomy of a toilet before, but it’s fascinating when you dive into it. There are so many simple pieces working together to keep a toilet flowing.

Do you have more questions about the fascinating anatomy of a toilet? Or would you like one of our plumbers to look at your toilet?

Contact us today. One of our team members would be happy to answer any questions you still have. They can also schedule you a consultation if you’d like.

Schedule a Job Quote

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Request a Quote Now

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Orange County California
See Suburban Plumbing Orange County on Yelp
See Suburban Plumbing Orange County on Houzz
Suburban Plumbing Orange County CA. Accepts Credit Cards

suburban plumbing

Full Service Plumbing Orange County, CA.

Suburban Plumbing
14933 Adams Street
Midway City, CA 92655
(714) 922-3555
or Send Us an Email Here.

© 2017-2024
– All rights reserved. –

Information on this website may not be re-used without prior written consent from Suburban Plumbing.


Monday-Friday: 8:00am to 7:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday: Closed Normal Appointments
Emergency Client Service Available

California Licensed, Bonded, Insured
C36 Plumbing Contractors License 833520

Click Here to Verify Our License

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This