During social isolation shopping sprees, chances are you were either racing to the toiletry aisles to buy toilet tissue before it was all gone or staring at empty shelves. While some consumers took tabs on toilet tissue being in stock in brick-and-mortar stores again, others shopped online.
Then came the third set of people who finally threw their hands in the air and searched for instructions explaining “How to install a bidet.” Although abnormal in the United States, bidets are common in private homes and public businesses in Argentina, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and Venezuela.
With origins in France during the 17th century (1), bidets have been around for quite some time and saving people plenty of money on toilet tissue runs. However, because they are so rare in some countries, knowing how to use them is half the battle.
Then comes learning the difference between electric and non-electric bidets. And finally, there’s the matter of installing a bidet. Let’s explore all of the above.
How To Install a Bidet
Tools and Materials Required
You don’t need a lot of tools to install a bidet. As long as you have an adjustable wrench and a couple of towels, you should be able to dive right in. If you know how to turn off the water and drain your toilet correctly, you may not even need the towels for more than back-up drips.
If you are nervous about operating your shut-off valve to turn the water off and detaching the water supply hose, keep a few extra towels nearby just in case. (Optional: Although you may not need it, keeping Teflon tape nearby for a potential leak helps.)
Before you flush your toilet, use the shut-off valve to stop the water supply to your toilet. Then flush the toilet until the water is out. (If you do it in the opposite order, the toilet will continue to fill up.)
Bidets (whether electric or non-electric) always come with their installation equipment (ex. bidet seat mounting plate, aka catch plate). However, you will need to remove your toilet seat altogether.
Depending on which kind of toilet seat you currently have, a wrench may or may not be needed. Sometimes you can reach under the toilet seat and twist the two plastic bolts and nuts with just your hands.
Once your toilet seat is removed, attach the bidet seat by aligning the catch plate over the bolt holes and sliding it into place via the brackets.
Make sure that the release button works before you tighten the bolts. Once you can confirm, it can release and lock, then tighten. (For some bidets, you’ll hear a “clicking” into place to make sure it’s properly locked. Still tighten as needed. Otherwise, it may unclick out of place and slide around.)
Now that the bidet toilet seat is in place detach the toilet’s water supply hose from the bottom of the toilet tank (the part where the water floats around) and the “wall” connection.
Attach the bidet T-valve to the base of the tank.
Attach the water supply hose to the “wall” connection of the T-valve. (Note: Depending on what kind of bidet you have, there is a small possibility that your current T-valve may not work with the bidet.
If so, measure your shut-off valve to determine whether you need a ⅜ or a ½ replacement T-valve. The average handyman or standard home improvement retailers should be able to show you other options if you tell them yours is either too small or too large.)
Now attach one end of the bidet’s supply hose to the upper connection of the T-valve.
Then attach the other end (the free end) of the bidet hose to the seat.
Slowly turn on the water but immediately look for leaks.
Things That Could Go Wrong
If water comes shooting out, you have not adequately secured your water supply hoses. (If you’re sure that you have connected the hoses as much as you can, this is when Teflon tape comes into play. Wrap it around the pipe thread in the opposite direction of how you would screw the T-valve on.
Avoid using so much tape that you can’t screw it back on at all, just enough to “thicken” the leaky area up. Now re-attach everything.)
Turn the water on again, and now see if the leaks have stopped. If you have a hand-held sprayer, precisely one with an optional hot and cold water lever, make sure the sprayer does both. If your bidet comes with an air dryer and a self-cleaning sprayer, make sure those turn on and off correctly, too.
Installing a bidet should be a relatively simple job that takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to do. If you’re new to bidet installation, take your time. Do not be in such a rush to use it that you end up ruining your floors (or your neighbors below) with a water leak.
As long as you are comfortable using a wrench and already understand how to turn your water off and on, this plumbing job should not require a professional.
Make sure that you always read any additional instructions about your bidet when not in use. For example, for electric bidets, it is recommended to turn them off during thunderstorms.
Non-electric bidets have somewhat fewer warnings and no weather-related concerns. If you follow these installation instructions and make sure to correct any leaks immediately, your bidet should last for many years.
- The Bidet’s Revival, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/the-bidets-revival/555770/