It would be nice if your plumbing was installed once and lasted forever. Of course, we know that’s not the case. Pipes can last many decades, often over 50 years, but faucets and fixtures will need to be replaced much earlier. Not only do they stop working so well after a couple of decades—they can also become outdated.
Sinks become discolored or may start to feel too small. Faucets develop leaks and may not offer all the features you want. It can be easy to decide when to replace these fixtures, but how can you tell when your toilet needs replacement? This may seem like a more difficult decision, but we’re here to help.
If your toilet is 20 years old or older, it probably uses a lot of water with every flush. Today’s toilets use only a third of what they once did, and are known as low-flush or low-flow toilets. They don’t require nearly as much water with each flush because they rely more on a high-pressure flush than one that uses a high volume. Toilets installed in the 1990s were required to use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush, but you can find some today that use 1.3 gallons or less!
Conserving water is important for any home. If you have a septic tank, septic tank usage is an additional consideration.
When a toilet is running or clogged, there’s often a somewhat simple solution (at least, easier than replacing the tank). A plunger or a plumber may be able to fix that clog, while a running toilet may require a replaced flapper. However, if these repairs are happening to your toilet all the time, a replacement is probably in order.
Cracks in the Toilet
When a toilet is leaking, there may be something you can do to solve the problem. If the leak is underneath the toilet, it may only need a new seal, which a plumber can handle. However, if the toilet actually cracks in the bowl or tank, it’s definitely time for a replacement. There’s no safe way to seal it at this point.
Yes, at some point aesthetics, or the appearance and design of your toilet, may play a role in whether you want to replace it. If you are remodeling a bathroom, you may not put much thought into the toilet, but this is the perfect time for a replacement if the older one is yellowing, causes a lot of trouble, or just doesn’t match your décor.
There are plenty of upgrades that don’t look like the standard bathroom toilet. You can install one with a floating bowl and hidden tank for a minimalist look, or upgrade to a taller toilet, as we’ll discuss below.
If you have older residents in your home, or if someone in the household has a disability, you might consider upgrading to a comfort-height toilet. These are only a couple of inches taller than the average toilet, but they make it a lot easier for some folks to get on and off.