It may not be quite as much fun to think about replacing your toilet as it is to think about buying a new car or even upgrading your living room furniture. After all, as far as purchases go, toilets are all function and very little “fun.” Despite this, there comes a time when every toilet needs replacing. Have you been thinking it might be time to upgrade yours? Check out these eight signs you should look for that signify it is time to look at replacing your toilet in the near future.
Unexpected Clogs – There are many different causes for clogged toilets. However, one of the most common is older low-flow toilet technology. Today’s low-flow toilets are better than ever so you may find that they do not clog up nearly as easily as those from 15 or 20 years ago. If you notice your toilet clogs for seemingly no reason at all, it may be time to call a plumber and schedule a replacement. Imagine going through your days without constantly turning to the plunger all the time!
It Leaks – Undetected leaks from either the bowl or the toilet tank can go on for long periods of time, causing water damage to the flooring or subfloor. If allowed to continue, the entire floor may need to be replaced. Leaks can also cause damage to rooms below if the bathroom is upstairs. Especially when dealing with older toilets, it may be more cost-effective to replace a toilet than find and repair leaks.
Wobbles – If the toilet wobbles when you sit on it (or when you get up), there is likely a problem with how it connects to the floor. The toilet may not be resting flush against the floor. Under the toilet base is a round toilet flange that connects the toilet to the drain pipe. If the flange is higher than the floor, the toilet will rock from side to side. Over time this can happen due to hardening calk or when the house settles. Tightening the two bolts to the floor could be a simple and quick fix, but too tight and you can crack the porcelain. You may need to shim and recaulk the toilet. This may be more of a maintenance issue than a replacement one, but if the floor underneath the toilet, or the porcelain itself, is damaged, this may be the perfect excuse to upgrade your toilet while you are dealing with the subfloor.
Cracks in the Porcelain – Cracked porcelain may look superficial and holding together right now, but it will eventually wear out on you and when it does it will not be pretty. If you see cracks in your porcelain, particularly in the lower portion of the toilet, you should run, not walk, to your phone and call to have the toilet replaced. Getting it replaced before it breaks completely and causes a big mess will save you money and effort. This is one case where it pays to be proactive.
Weak Flush – A weak flush doesn’t necessarily spell the end of your toilet, but it is a sure sign you need to have it checked out. A weak flush means that water isn’t flowing into the bowl with as much pressure as necessary. You may be able to repair this with a new component or two, but replacing the entire unit may be more cost effective–especially on an older toilet.
Poor water-use efficiency – With an older toilet, simply using it on regular basis may have a negative impact on your utility bill. Toilets manufactured before 1980 can use up to 7 gallons of water with each flush. Federal guidelines, updated in the 1990s, require modern toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. To determining your toilet's age, lift the lid and look for the date stamp.
Comfort – There have been many improvements in form and function of toilets in the last 20 years. Comfort is a factor, sometimes just changing out the seat will do the trick but you may want to look around at what is available now. When shopping for a new toilet, make sure the toilet seat isn't too small or narrow and that the seat height isn't too high or low. If you're investing in a new toilet, find one that fits you and your family comfortably.
Appearance… It’s just old – Some toilets really show their age. Scratches due to aggressive cleaning with the wrong tools can mar the appearance. Kids in charge of cleaning their own bathroom may cause permanent ring stains due to lack of flushing and consistent cleaning (it happens, no judgment, we have kids too). Old toilets can continue to work just fine for years, but they are not as efficient and even the low-flow varieties made 15 or 20 years ago are simply not as effective as the ones produced today. A dual flushing model made today will make a big difference in your water bill and your comfort too!