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When to repair or replace your toilet

repair or replace your toilet

A toilet gets used everyday.  It’s something that is taken for granted until it starts messing up.  Toilet problems can cause a lot of stress and serious ones can damage your home so it’s good to know the signs to look for that your toilet is not working properly.  It is also a good idea to know which toilet problems can be repaired and which need to be replaced.  Here is a quick guide when to repair or replace your toilet.

How long do toilets last?

Toilets are built very well and with care and maintenance can last up to 50 years, but realistically toilets are replaced on average between 10-15 years.  While the toilet itself might last, the plumbing inside tends to wear out over time.  Hard water, poor upkeep and the quality of the toilet can affect its lifespan.  There are obvious signs that a toilet needs to be repaired or replaced but some indicators are less obvious to the untrained eye.  A professional plumber can tell if you need your toilet repaired or replaced.

Signs that your toilet may need to be repaired or replaced

Determining whether your toilet needs a repair or a complete replacement can be tricky, but there are some telltale signs to watch out for. Here’s a breakdown to help you diagnose the situation:

Signs your toilet needs repair:

  • Leaks: Visible leaks around the base, tank, or connections are a clear indication of trouble. Fix minor leaks promptly to prevent water damage.
  • Running toilet: A constantly running toilet not only wastes water but also points to issues like a faulty flapper valve or worn-out fill mechanism. Repairing these components can often restore proper function.
  • Clogged drains: Frequent clogs, especially those requiring a plunger every few days, suggest deeper blockages in the drain line. Repairing the clog or snaking the drain might be necessary.
  • Cracks or chips: Minor cracks or chips on the porcelain surface can often be sealed with specialized kits. However, extensive cracks or chips compromising the toilet’s structural integrity might necessitate replacement.

Signs your toilet needs replacement:

  • Repeated repairs: If your toilet seems to require frequent repairs for the same issues, it might be more cost-effective to replace it with a newer, more reliable model.
  • Outdated design: Older toilets often use inefficient flushing mechanisms, wasting water with each use. Upgrading to a modern, high-efficiency toilet can save water and money in the long run.
  • Frequent clogs: If even routine maintenance and drain snaking can’t keep clogs at bay, there might be underlying issues with the toilet’s design or piping that necessitate replacement.
  • Aesthetic reasons: If your toilet clashes with your bathroom’s updated style or is simply outdated, replacing it can enhance the overall look and feel of the space.

Additional tips:

  • Consider the age of your toilet. In general, toilets over 10-15 years old are more prone to problems and might be due for replacement.
  • Check for manufacturer recalls. Some toilet models have known defects, so researching recalls can help you determine if your toilet needs to be replaced.
  • Consult a professional plumber if you’re unsure about the diagnosis or the extent of the repairs needed. They can assess the situation and provide expert recommendations.

Remember, early intervention is key. Addressing minor issues promptly can often prevent them from escalating into costly repairs or complete replacements.

How much does it cost to replace a toilet?

The cost of replacing a toilet can vary quite a bit depending on several factors, but here’s a general breakdown:

Toilet cost:

  • Range: $75 – $600 (with the average around $250 – $500)
  • Factors:
    • Type: One-piece toilets tend to be more expensive than two-piece ones.
    • Brand: Higher-end brands will naturally cost more.
    • Features: Toilets with features like dual-flush or heated seats will be pricier.

Installation cost:

  • Range: $185 – $400 (with the average around $250 – $350)
  • Factors:
    • Complexity: Difficult installations due to tight spaces or plumbing adjustments will cost more.
    • Location: Labor rates can vary depending on your area.
    • Disposal fees: Some plumbers charge extra to remove and dispose of your old toilet.

Total cost:

  • Average: $400 – $800
  • Range: $260 (basic toilet + DIY installation) – $1,000+ (luxury toilet + complex installation)

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