There’s a good reason some people call the toilet their “throne” — some have reported spending an average of 1 hour and 42 minutes per week sitting on the toilet. But for all the time you spend in the “throne room,” toilets are rarely top of mind. Unlike a microwave or fridge, your toilet doesn’t suddenly become outdated. There aren’t as many advancements in toilet technology as what you may find in a thermostat or adjustable showerhead. No, toilets are a small, steady fixture in our homes, serving its purpose for the family — that is, until it goes awry.
When your toilet has problems, you can either fix it or replace it, and there isn’t an easy answer for which you should do. To start the process, you need to determine how your toilet is malfunctioning and the best way to get it working again.
Common Reasons for Toilet Repair or Replacement
One of the most common causes of toilet issues is clogging. Clogging happens when a foreign object is flushed down and becomes lodged in the twisting pipes that take your waste from the toilet into the sewer system. Foreign objects can include small things, like a toy or piece of clothing, or could consist of paper that’s not meant to degrade the same way as toilet paper; for instance, paper towels or feminine hygiene products.
Common problems that may lead to needed toilet repairs or a toilet replacement can include:
- A worn or disconnected flapper valve
- Rusted washer bolts
- Loose seals and rubber linings
- A cracked or broken tank or bowl
- A sewer line clog
Issues like these will cause problems with flushing or refilling, water leaking or pooling, or foul smells coming from bowls or pipes — and we’re not talking about those smells that linger after a recent visit.
When is Toilet Repair Necessary?
Some issues require a relatively simple toilet repair that may necessitate professional tools or new parts to fix but don’t require a total toilet replacement. Some of these issues include:
Continuously Running Toilet
The constant swish of a running toilet usually means a valve in the tank is not sealing correctly. You can find out for yourself by opening the tank and pushing down on the flapper until the water stops running. This indicates it’s time to replace the flapper — a straightforward fix from your Tom Moffett Plumbing team.
Low Water Level
Low water in your bowl means one of two things: Your shut-off valve has been closed, or there’s a small clog in your pipes. You can find out whether the valve is the problem by opening the tank and checking to see if the valve is open. If it’s OK, this likely means you have a clog and should call a plumbing company to clean the drain.
Broken Lift Chain or Toilet Won’t Flush
Toilets flush due to the force of the water being pushed from the tank into the bowl, and it’s all thanks to the lift chain, which lets the water loose upon flushing. If your toilet isn’t flushing, the chain has likely become dislodged or broken, which is another simple fix.
When Should I Replace My Toilet?
There will be times, like when repairs will cost more than a new toilet, that you will want to replace your throne with a shiny new one. Here are just some of the reasons:
In 1994, the US passed federal guidelines for more energy-efficient toilets, and the result was a more eco-friendly version that uses a fraction of the water of older models. Older toilets also need to work harder the longer they last, so you’ll use more water to flush. Although you won’t necessarily need to replace your toilet based on age alone, age combined with other factors is a good indication that it’s time for a new fixture.
A toilet that’s cracked below the waterline in the tank or bowl needs to be replaced, no matter what the size of the crack — even if it’s brand new. Cracks in porcelain can be patched, but not as a long-term solution: The crack weakens the structure. Although it may not seem like much, a crack can slowly leak water, or even worse, the gap can extend and expand and cause significant damage to your home.
Clogs happen and on their own are not problematic. However, if your toilet is clogging more than once per week, there could be underlying issues that require a replacement. A Tom Moffett Plumbing expert can help you determine whether your clog is a concern.
Although the small parts in your toilet tank are cheap and easy to fix, repairs can quickly add up. Paired with the low cost of a new toilet, it may make more sense to start from scratch. As a benefit, choosing a more energy-efficient, low-flush toilet for your replacement can save even more money on your water bill.
Replacing your toilet can keep you from costly future repairs. Once you’ve made the decision, call our team for quick service and upfront, flat pricing!