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How to Access a Hidden Toilet Cistern in 10 Steps Plus Some Simple Toilet Maintenance Tips

On the face of it, a hidden toilet cistern seems impossible to access. After all, that’s the whole point, right? It’s a toilet tank that’s concealed behind a wall or inside a piece of furniture. Why do this? It’s usually for two reasons – 1. it looks great when all you see is the flush plate above the toilet and 2. It saves space. But what if the hidden toilet tank is overflowing or won’t stop flushing? How do you fix a toilet if you can’t  access it’s cistern?

In this post, we’ll answer all your questions and share a couple of essential maintenance tips along the way. Get your tools out and prepare your mind for a bit of patience – it’s DIY time.

Before we begin, it’s important to mention the following – if you don’t trust your DIY plumbing skills, it’s always a good idea to find an experienced plumber or just contact Pro Plumber for a quote.

Table of Contents

  • How to Get Into a Hidden Toilet Cistern in 10 Steps
  • Hidden Cistern Maintenance
  • Hidden Toilet Tank Assembly
  • Bonus Toilet Plumbing Tips

 Now, let’s find out how to access your concealed toilet cistern…

How to Get Into a Hidden Toilet Cistern in 10 Steps

There are a lot of different brands of toilet units out there. While each may have varying features, luckily the way to access a hidden cistern usually follows the same rules. For this tutorial, you’ll probably just need a screwdriver and a little bit of patience. Here’s how to access a hidden toilet cistern:

1. Locate the toilet cistern’s push button(s).

2. Slightly lift the cover plate with your fingers or the end of screwdriver and remove it. If it’s flush with the wall, try to push the bottom while rotating the upper edge towards you. Be careful here though – sometimes there can be air hoses connected to the buttons. If that’s the case, gently disconnect the hoses.

3. Carefully remove the flushing rods. These can be found at the centre of the cistern frame. Rotating the rods anti-clockwise and slowly pulling them backwards will usually do the trick.

4. There may be plastic bolts here which need to be unfastened to manually release the frame. If there are fasteners present, use the matching screwdriver (based on the bolts’ type).

5. Some concealed cisterns may have what’s called a debris plate. This acts as waste protection plate. Remove it by locating and squeezing the latches.

6. Find the isolation valve. This is usually marked with a blue, yellow or red handle. Turn it to stop the cold water flow then take out any water in the tank by flushing the toilet (if you can), otherwise you’ll have to syphon it out with a hose and bucket.

7. Lift the siphon bracket mechanism out by locating the small button on its lower parts.

8. Turn and take out the water hose from the float valve using your hands. It’s fairly easy, as they usually have a seated O-ring attached but be careful not to crank the O-ring to hard to avoid breaking it.

9. Find the lever on the back of the float valve and push it. This will release it from the backplate.

10. Press the lever on the back of the siphon unit. Turn the siphon to take it out of the cistern. This part may require a bit of patience.

Assuming you’ve followed all the steps above correctly, you’ve just gained access to your built-in toilet tank! Now, we don’t usually access then hidden cistern just for the fun of it, so we’re going to assume you might want to do some maintenance, and then, of course, re-assemble it all again, so read on for more…

Hidden Cistern Maintenance Basics

Let’s start by giving it a good wash. Feel free to start the water flow and use the water hose in the cistern to do this. Make sure that the bottom of your cistern is clear of any debris. Throw away any larger bits and pieces if you find them. Check the rubber seal on the bottom of the cistern siphon. If it seems damaged or frayed at all, take the time to go buy a new one. This tiny, inexpensive replacement could save time and money on future leaks as it’s this little bugger that is the reason why your flush isn’t working or the cistern takes ages to fill up.

Think Ahead Tip: If you know the exact dimensions of your toilet system, you can order parts online before starting the job.

The rest of the maintenance comprises disassembly of the float valve and the siphon itself. For this part of the process, however, we highly recommend to get in contact with a Pro Plumber.

Hidden Cistern Assembly

After a successful internal clean of your concealed toilet tank, now it’s time to put it all back together. Simply follow the 8 steps below to get your tank bank in full working order in no time at all.

  1. Carefully snap the siphon back to its place. A small click sound indicates that you’ve inserted it back correctly.
  2. Do the same drill for the float valve. Avoid messing with the adjustment mechanism.
  3. Connect the water hose to the float valve by tightening the o-ring. As mentioned earlier, don’t crank too hard.
  4. Insert the siphon’s bracket mechanism through the “eyes” of the siphon itself. Test if it’s working.
  5. Mount the debris plate.
  6. Mount the push button locating plate. Fix in place with its bolts or fasteners.
  7. Install the flushing rods. Make sure to listen for the click sound. Test the rods’ system before attaching the push button panel.
  8. Attach the push button’s panel.

Bonus Toilet Plumbing Tips

Here are a few extra must-know tips for any DIY plumbing enthusiasts out there:

  • If your inlet valve’s sticky, it’s time to replace it.
  • To help fit pipes easier, use a bit of dishwashing liquid.
  • Dual flush systems save water and money.
  • Always read the instructions provided with your toilet system. To help avoid technical issues and save time. Google is your friend if you don’t have the printed copy anymore.

Last Word

  • Follow the disassembly steps carefully to reach your hidden toilet cistern.
  • Maintaining your system is possible without you being a proficient plumber.
  • Always assemble everything back in the correct order to avoid any issues, such as leaks and overflows.
  • If at any moment you feel knackered and uncertain of your actions, get an experienced plumber to help you out!

Need help? Hire a Pro Plumber expert today by giving us a call on 0421 779 324.