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Plumbing Articles from Orange County, CA.
How Long Should a Toilet Last and When Is It Time to Replace Yours?
The home utilities we use most often are ironically the most overlooked. You don’t tend to think about the health of lightbulbs, faucets, or drains until something goes wrong. Toilets deserve a special mention since they can appear functional long after it’s time for a replacement.
But how long should a toilet last, anyway? Keeping an old toilet around can cause you a serious headache through maintenance and high water bills.
Still, it may be worthwhile to make an occasional repair rather than replacing the whole thing. To come to an educated decision, read on to discover if it’s time to replace your current toilet.
How Long Should a Toilet Last?
Most plumbers agree that a typical toilet has a lifespan of about 50 years. But that doesn’t mean you should keep it around that long.
Toilets are responsible for a massive portion of your monthly water bill. The older your toilet is, the more it’s costing you. If your equipment is near the 50-year mark, it may use 6 gallons or more with every flush.
Compare that to the standards of the National Energy Policy Act, which requires the installation of toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons. According to the EPA, you could save more than $140 every year by upgrading your toilet.
And that’s a modest estimate, especially if you own an antiquated model. Seeing as toilet replacement costs are very affordable, it’s a good idea to upgrade your toilet if it’s older than about 20 or 30 years. The new appliance will pay for itself in no time.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of a replacement, don’t wait to replace a toilet that’s at least 50 years old. It presents a serious health hazard if the porcelain breaks while in use.
Is it Time to Replace My Toilet?
You can usually find the production date of your toilet within its tank. But if the date is missing or you’re still undecided, just listen to your toilet! There are plenty of signs that indicate when it’s on its last legs.
Here are some of the most common.
1. Hairline Fractures
Porcelain is durable, but wear and tear adds up over time. Small cracks may appear on the toilet, whether around the tank, bowl, or base. Hairline fractures are sometimes minuscule enough that the toilet remains operational and leak-free.
Even so, these hairline cracks will continue to develop until a leak forms. These cracks also weaken the foundation of the porcelain, making it dangerous to use in any capacity.
If you notice cracks or fractures, don’t wait. Hire the professionals to install a new toilet as soon as possible.
2. Repeated Clogging
There’s no denying that a toilet clogs up every now and then. But if it’s a common occurrence, such as once a week or more, that suggests your toilet is no longer fit for the job.
Older toilets may lack the strength to get the job done. But it used to work just fine. What changed?
Usually, the culprit is the buildup of mineral deposits within the pipes. Mineral buildups are more common with weak toilets since the flush isn’t powerful enough to blast the residue away. You’ll also encounter mineral buildups if you live in an area with hard water.
A stronger, modern toilet can contend with thinner pipes since they are more powerful. It’s also a good idea to have your drain pipe examined while replacing the toilet, just in case.
3. Wobbling Foundation
If your old toilet ever wobbles, you want to determine the cause as soon as possible. In the best circumstances, you may have to replace or adjust the anchor screws.
But if the screws are tight and your toilet still wobbles? Now that’s a problem. Constant wobbling can lead to expensive leaks or even ruin the surrounding plumbing.
In some cases, the wobbling is already a sign of damage. This occurs when an unchecked leak has damaged the floor beneath the toilet. The soft, rotting foundation has given way, allowing the toilet to wobble around.
Feel free to check the screws yourself. If your old toilet is still wobbling, contact the professionals for a replacement. A new toilet could be the least of your worries if you wait too long.
4. Constant Repairs
Your old toilet probably isn’t going to break down out of the blue. But you’ll know it’s on its last legs when month after month, something goes wrong.
Some repairs are simple, such as affixing a new handle chain. But what about adding a new fill valve? Many of these may not be compatible with your old toilet, especially if it’s nearing the end of its life expectancy.
Rather than putting more time and money into an inefficient, dysfunctional toilet, cut your losses. Installing a new toilet will save you time and money.
5. High Water Bills
Since old toilets are inefficient, they can do a number on your monthly water bill. And as they age, they only become weaker, going through even more water to get the job done.
When your toilet reaches this point, you’re basically flushing money away. Instead, purchasing a new toilet will reduce your water consumption and thus the bills that come with it. It practically pays for itself.
Installing a New Toilet
How long should a toilet last after installation? Another 50 years. Installing a new toilet is a once-in-a-lifetime burden.
Most homeowners put off the installation of a new toilet because they can’t do it alone. And hey, we get it. Toilets are messy, complicated, and bulky.
That’s why you should leave the installation to qualified professionals. Thanks to improvements over the years, you’ll save money with reduced water consumption and fewer repairs. Contact us for a free quote.
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