A toilet can last for quite some time. However, this is only when the toilet is well maintained and gently used. For most toilets, a 20-year lifespan is an outer limit. A toilet may continue to work after this, but it will be at a higher risk of having leaks and suffering from numerous clogs and other repair issues.
If you have a toilet that’s 20 years or older, get ahead of these problems and get it replaced. You could end up throwing good money after bad. If a problem is ignored long enough, you could end up with a plumbing disaster. Since knowledge is everything, below is a guide to help you know when to replace a toilet.
The toilet is 20+ years old
There are varying opinions on how long a toilet should last. We’ve seen toilets that were over 50 years old. However, that’s the fixture itself, not the inner workings. While your toilet may still do the job, older toilets often suffer from inefficiency. A replacement saves money and water.
Believe it or not, the federal government even has something to say about your toilet. According to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, toilets installed after 1994 must have a flush volume of 1.6 gallons per flush. Some toilets today use as little as 1.1 gallons per flush. Toilets manufactured before this policy used between 3.5 to 5 gallons. If your toilet is at least 25 years old, consider replacing it.
A Crack in Your Tank
Do you have water puddles near the base of the toilet? If so, examine both the inside and outside of the tank. The location of the crack will determine whether a repair will suffice. If it’s below the waterline, you will need a toilet tank replacement. At that point, most homeowners replace the entire toilet.
Tank cracks aren’t always visible, especially if you have a hairline crack. If you can’t find a crack, a plumber should come in and do a more thorough inspection for you.
The toilet leaks
Toilet leaks may not be noticed for several months. Sometimes you may not know you have a leak until you get your water bill. Leaking toilets use an excessive amount of water. If your bill suddenly increases significantly, check for a leak.
Damaged flooring and subflooring are an unfortunate result of a leaking toilet. Unchecked, a leaking upstairs toilet can cause water damage to the rooms downstairs. If you have an older toilet and it’s leaking, replacing it is the most cost-effective move.
The forever flush
Who doesn’t find a toilet that’s constantly running annoying? While water needs to flow for a short time after you flush, when water continues to run from the tank to the bowl, that’s a problem. A running toilet wastes water. While this may not qualify for an immediate replacement, you shouldn’t ignore it. You may have a flapper valve that doesn’t seal anymore, a broken fill valve in the tank, or another problem.
You’re a weekend plumber
Toilets aren’t that complicated, but if you constantly have to fix or replace different parts in your toilet, such as the flush handle, fill valve, or flapper, you may be wasting money trying to rebuild your old fixture. Weigh the costs of the different repairs you’ve had to replace and think about whether investing in a brand new toilet could save you more money in the long run.
You have frequent clogs
Most toilets clog occasionally. If you have children who flush toys down the toilet, you may have frequent clogs. However, if you find yourself plunging or unclogging your toilet regularly, it may be time to invest in a newer, more powerful model. Older toilets often have weaker flushes and may even require you to flush more than once to get everything down. This not only uses more water, but it also wears down your plumbing and costs you more money.
The non-flushing toilet
There is no such thing as a non-flushing toilet. However, there is a toilet that won’t flush. You can’t plunge it, and you can’t jiggle the handle to make it work. You have serious toilet trouble with this one.
If you have any of these issues or want to talk about replacing a toilet, please contact us to see how we can help/