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Every time you press that button or pull that chain, you expect the magic to happen. But what if you finish your business, request that flush – and nothing happens? What if you only get a trickle? What if it’s constantly trickling? It’s never nice to be caught with your pants down, but there’s no need for panic. Why’s that? You just need to know how to change a toilet cistern. And the good news is that you can probably learn how to do it right here, right now.

But before we tell you how to change a toilet cistern in 7 of the simplest steps, it’s certainly possible that you might be able to troubleshoot your toilet issue without changing the entire cistern. For instance, are you dealing with:

A phantom flush?: You could swear you just heard the toilet re-fill itself … and no one even pressed that button. It’s probably a slow cistern leak, and the problem is traceable to the flapper component.

Nightly hissing?: If your toilet likes to hiss at you as you’re trying to get to sleep, you’re almost certainly just hearing what you can’t hear in the bustle of the day: a faulty float. That said, it could also be the inlet assembly or refill tube.

A toilet leak: Your cistern problem could actually be a failing seal – notably, the seal between the cistern unit and the bowl itself. But we’ll be honest: if you’re dealing with any of the above toilet problems, the easiest way to fix it may not be to fiddle around with seals and individual components – it won’t cost much more to simply replace the entire thing.

The 7 steps for changing a toilet cistern

First, a warning. In Queensland, there’s nothing stopping a homeowner from fiddling around with toilet cistern components including washers, floats and suction caps. But for the entire cistern itself, you may be falling foul of the authorities by getting too stuck into your household plumbing (check our “What Plumbing Works Can You Do Yourself?” to know the plumbing you can do)  – so please do consider getting your friendly local plumber in Brisbane to do it for you!

With that said, learning how to replace a cistern that has seen better days really isn’t too difficult at all. In fact, there are 7 simple steps you can easily follow:

1. Flush

You’re going to be dealing with one heck of a mess if you don’t empty that old cistern first! Oh, and while you’re at it, turn off the water supply to your home, too.

2. Stop-tap

In short, turn it off! If you can’t find it, it’s probably the only tap that is part of your toilet setup.

3. Screwdriver

Use it to disconnect the water supply line from the cistern assembly. Then, use it again – or whatever other general tools are required – to disconnect the toilet bowl from the cistern, including the ones attaching the unit to your wall.

4. Remove

If you’ve undone everything correctly in step 3, removing the old cistern should be easy. Just be aware that any residual water could run out at this stage.

5. Check

With a bit of luck and wisdom, you’ve already bought your new cistern and checked that it’s exactly compatible with both the old one and the space it will need to occupy for the foreseeable future.

6. Attach

Return to step 4, and do it in reverse! Don’t forget any washers – especially the rubber ones which will make your new cistern’s installation water-tight.

7. Complete

Make sure all the nuts, bolts, washers and screws are all in place and tight, re-attach the water supply line, crank on the water mains, and stand back and check for leaks all the way through one or two ‘practice’ flushes.

You could always just call Brisbane’s best plumber?

How did you go? Was replacing a toilet cistern a breeze … or a great big mess? Luckily, it’s still no reason to panic – because Brisbane’s specialists in all household and commercial plumbing and drainage issues are only ever just around the corner.

At Brisbane Plumbing & Drainage, we’ve worked hard to build our reputation for quickly and affordably resolving every type of plumbing issue at your place – and toilet repairs and replacements are among our specialities! Give us a call today for a speedy response, guaranteed workmanship and fixed pricing. See you soon!