Is it Time to Replace Your Toilet?
You use them every day but probably don't think about the condition of your toilet until it starts to show signs of trouble.
Sometimes, replacing your toilet is simply your best bet for a variety of reasons. Other times, a few repairs can extend the usable life of this essential plumbing fixture. The trick is learning how to tell the difference.
Before you shell out money for a laundry list of repairs on your old toilet or spring for a new one unnecessarily, take some time to consider all your options and all the factors at play.
Frequent Clogs: Cause for Replacement?
A toilet requiring regular attention with a plunger is more than just a nuisance, though it definitely scores high on the irritation scale. Mineral deposits can build up in the pipes over time, catching any solid waste or paper you attempt to flush. These deposits get larger and more likely to cause problems if they go unchecked and can be a sign it’s time to replace the whole fixture.
The occasional clog is relatively normal
You don’t necessarily have to replace an entire toilet if there’s nothing else wrong. Dealing with clogs more than about once a week, however, is a fairly reliable sign your toilet is struggling. This is especially true if it’s an older low-flow model, as these are often prone to clogs. Low flush toilets have come a long way, and newer models help you conserve water without becoming an expert with a plunger.
Cracks and Visible Damage
While toilets aren’t typically the aesthetic focal point of a room, an unsightly bowl can often make even a clean bathroom seem dirty. Deep scratches in porcelain make it difficult to remove discoloration and staining. You’ll spend more time scrubbing for less payoff as your toilet gets older. For many people, this alone can be justification for replacement. Toilet cleaning isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, and you’ll be doing it far more often as discoloration and surface etching worsen.
Cracks are more than an aesthetic problem
Even the smallest hairline crack can leak, eventually causing very real trouble for the surrounding floor and subfloor. Replacing a cracked toilet now can save you thousands in bathroom repairs down the road, especially if you suspect an active leak is already happening.
There’s also the possibility of a crack giving way, unexpectedly flooding the area and leaving homeowners with a real mess on their hands. Check for cracks in the porcelain, even if the toilet is otherwise operating normally. Slow leaks can lead to microbial growth, and mold mitigation can be an extensive undertaking.
You Have a Plumber on Speed Dial
If you’re on a first-name basis with a plumber because they spend so much time fixing your toilet, it’s time for a new fixture. Even small repairs add up over time, and you can quickly spend more on frequent minor repairs than it would cost to buy a new, problem-free toilet.
It’s also wise to consider replacement instead of multiple repairs, even if things start to go wrong suddenly. There’s more to a toilet than meets the eye, and plenty of things which can eventually require repairs or replacement. Fill valves, handles and flappers are inexpensive on their own but add to the total cost of keeping an old toilet around, if you’re already weighing options. In most cases, it’s more cost-effective to replace the entire fixture than it is to invest in multiple repairs or replacement parts.
Age and Inefficiency
Maybe your toilet is working just fine, but it’s not as young as it used to be. This is where it’s prudent to consider the savings of a more water-efficient option to determine whether a new toilet is a good investment. Older models may use three or even five gallons of water per flush, while new low-flush options use less than two gallons. Minimizing your household water use is good environmental stewardship, and it does save you money in the long run.
Older toilets can also be wobbly due to loosening bolts, which is quick and easy to fix. Sometimes those wobbles are a sign of softening subfloors and water damage, which means an older toilet is losing water somewhere. Leaks aren’t always easy to detect if they’re happening somewhere that isn’t readily visible.
Making the Final Call
There are so many different things to consider when it comes to plumbing fixtures, it’s typically best to call in a professional opinion anytime you’re in doubt.
The knowledgeable and experienced plumbers at Mason Mechanical can help you make the best call after a thorough inspection, whether it’s time for a few repairs or a full replacement. Call today to speak with an expert, and we’ll work with you to get everything running smoothly in no time.