Toilets leak, wear out and break down. Replacing them is costly and usually unnecessary when they just need a little maintenance and new parts.

    The most common toilet problems — a running fill valve, broken flapper or leak — all lead to a lot of wasted water, which literally means you’re flushing hard-earned money down the drain. 

    In fact, a simple flapper leak could cost you $600 a year in wasted water! So pay attention to your toilet, and correct little problems before they become big ones.

    Here are the top four toilet parts you should routinely replace — and if you don’t know what to replace, an all-in-one solution.

    1. Flapper

    The tank and bowl are a toilet’s biggest parts, but many small systems work together to keep the fixture functioning. One of the most important of these is the flapper.

    Toilet bowls are useless without water, which comes from the tank.

    When you flush, the flapper drains water from the tank, into the flush valve and into the bowl.

    Flappers are made of rubber, which hardens or warps after four or five years. This prevents them from creating a seal and stopping water’s passage from the flush valve into the bowl.

    A constantly trickling toilet isn’t just annoying, it can waste hundreds of gallons of water and substantially increase your water bill.

    Toilet bowls are useless without water, and the flapper drains it for them.

    If you have a leaking or constantly running toilet, you may need a new flapper or even a kit that includes the flapper and fill valve. Fluidmaster has a range of flappers to fit just about any toilet.

    2. Fill Valve

    Having too much water is a problem, but so is having too little water.

    A toilet tank that’s noisy, constantly running or fills up slowly is an inconvenience that wastes your time. And if the tank doesn’t fill at all, the fixture is unfunctional and useless.

    Why deal with that — or pay a plumber — when you could just fix the problem yourself at a fraction of the cost?  

    When you flush a toilet, the fill valve refills the tank and bowl to their correct water levels. (Older toilets use ballcock assemblies to prevent overflow and backflow.) This is why it’s one of the most important toilet parts to replace.

    The fill valve is constantly exposed to water, so clogs or leaks are inevitable, and the assembly itself usually lasts about five years.   

    Fill valves, pictured, have replaced ballcock assemblies that prevent overflow and backflow.

    Fortunately, Fluidmaster’s PerforMAX 400H Toilet Fill Valve converts a noisy, slow-filling toilet into a quiet fixture with a more powerful flush.

    Best of all, its universal design fits most toilets.

    3. Water Supply Line

    Toilets have two important connections: between the shutoff valve and water supply line, and the water supply line and fill valve.

    If your toilet is leaking from the water supply line, you may have to replace some parts, or it could be due to a loose connection.

    The connection between the water supply line and the fill valve is usually hand-tightened and may need adjusting. If that doesn’t solve the problem, and the connection at the shutoff valve isn’t leaking, it may be time to replace the water supply line. This part usually lasts about 10 years.

    Water supply lines last about 10 years — but they’re one of the most forgotten toilet parts to replace.

    Fluidmaster’s Click Seal Water Supply Lines are built to last and take the guesswork out of the tightening.

    The steel-braid provides the strength and durability necessary for passage of water, and the connectors click to signal a secure fit.   Toilets, and their parts, don’t last forever. But you can extend your toilet’s life — and save some money — with these simple fixes.

    4. Wax Seal

    One thing separates your toilet from the sewer: an airtight, watertight wax or non-wax seal. This seal, which surrounds the toilet’s exit hole, does more than sit between the fixture’s base and flange. It’s a safety feature, and that’s why it’s one of the most important toilet parts you could replace.

    The seal prevents water from leaking as it leaves the toilet and enters the drainpipe. This prevents the kind of water damage that leads to mold and mildew, at best, and rotting that, at worst, could compromise the home’s structure.  

    In addition, the seal prevents harmful sewer gases from entering your living space. Hydrogen sulfide, for instance, leaves foul odors, similar to rotten eggs, but that’s the least of your worries. It’s also corrosive, flammable and poisonous.

    Wax seals are no fun to replace. You need patience, a putty knife and plenty of time. (©Steven Love, Adobe Stock)

    Fluidmaster’s Better Than Wax toilet seal is an easy, mess-free alternative to wax seals. 

    If unpleasant odors invade your bathroom, puddles form around your toilet’s base, or the fixture wobbles, you may need to replace the seal. Wax seals are easy enough to install — if you position them correctly on the first attempt — but they’re a mess when it’s time for replacement. You’ll need patience, a putty knife and plenty of time to remove the wax ring and residue.

    Fluidmaster’s Better Than Wax toilet seal is a more user-friendly option. It’s rubber, so installation is easy. If you mess up on the first attempt, just pick up the toilet, reposition and try again.

    Best of all, it’s guaranteed to last 10 years and it’s easy to replace.

    Fluidmaster’s Better Than Wax toilet seal is an easy, mess-free alternative to wax seals.
    Fluidmaster’s Everything Toilet Tank Repair Kit includes all the parts and tools you need to restore your toilet’s functioning.

    Replacing Everything at Once

    You don’t need to be a plumber or handyman to replace your toilet’s parts. In fact, the folks at Fluidmaster want to make it as simple as possible for you to tune up your toilet – even if you’ve never done it before.

    They developed the Everything Toilet Tank Repair Kit that includes all the necessary tools and components to fix common issues such as a noisy toilet; a toilet that turns on by itself; a running or leaky toilet; a toilet that won’t flush or has a weak flush; or a slow-filling toilet.

    The kit includes the PerforMAX toilet fill valve, an adjustable 2-inch toilet flush valve, the PerforMAX toilet flapper, and the universal tank-to-bowl toilet gasket. It eliminates the need for extra trips to the store for an unknown part or tool, and that saves time, money and frustration.

    When you combine this kit with easy-to-follow instructions and online videos, you can completely refurbish your toilet, so it runs like new again. All of the components in the kit are made with durable materials and a universal design to fit all toilet types. 

    Plus, the kit is backed by Fluidmaster’s seven-year warranty, so you can go back to not thinking about your toilet again! 

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Danny Lipford

    Danny Lipford


    Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

    Learn More