Your toilet is a surprisingly sturdy fixture, despite all the use it gets daily. Once in a while, though, this essential plumbing fixture may give you trouble. When that happens, it can be tempting to run out and buy a new one.
But is that expense really necessary? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Find out when you should repair vs replace a toilet.
The following four issues are definitely annoying. The good news is you can usually resolve them with a toilet repair.
An occasional clog is normal; often, you can fix it yourself with a plunger. But if your toilet clogs more often, do some investigation. Is anyone throwing stuff down the toilet that doesn’t belong there?
All that your family should be flushing is bodily waste products and toilet paper (preferably toilet paper that will dissolve easily, and not too much of that). If the toilet becomes blocked with “flushable” wipes, feminine hygiene products, or your toddler’s Legos, you’ll have a clog that will likely need professional attention.
Water should flow from your toilet tank into the bowl only when you flush. When your toilet makes the sound of running water even when it’s not in use, there’s a problem. Often a continually running toilet results from a worn flapper valve, which is not sealing properly. Other sources might be a fill valve malfunction or calcium buildup inside your pipes.
Unless you’ve just flushed, the water in your toilet tank and bowl should stay at the same level. When you have a lowered water level, check whether someone has accidentally closed the tank shutoff valve. If not, a low water level may signal a partial toilet clog.
A decreased water level, combined with water dripping from the sides of the toilet or on your bathroom floor around the base, could indicate a serious leak.
Sometimes the toilet smells really, really bad, even after you’ve cleaned it. If that particular toilet is rarely used (maybe it’s in a guest room or at your cottage), see whether flushing a few times will help. If not, a rotten, musty, or acrid odour that won’t go away could be caused by several culprits, such as a broken toilet seal or bacteria in the overflow pipe.
The signs of toilet trouble below are too serious and complicated to make repair worthwhile. In these cases, it’s time to replace your existing toilet.
When it seems you’re always paying for toilet repairs, you probably feel like you’re throwing money down the drain. In that case, it’s time to consider spending your money on a toilet replacement instead.
A new toilet will be more reliable and trouble-free. You can also find one that saves water yet still has a good strong flush. An ADA-approved toilet will make life easier for a family member who is mobility-challenged or elderly.
We mentioned a few common causes of toilet blockage above. But what if your toilet is always clogged (for no apparent reason)?
The reason might be water with heavy mineral content or chlorine (like we have in Ottawa). Minerals in your water tend to build up as sediment in the plumbing pipes, while chlorine can damage plastic or rubber parts, like washers and gaskets. Either of these will reduce your toilet’s ability to flush, resulting in constant toilet clogs.
If you notice a crack in the porcelain (even a hairline crack), your toilet is in trouble. Cracks of any size can grow larger and threaten the toilet’s structural soundness. A crack in the toilet cannot be repaired.
HOUSEHOLD HINT: Never pour boiling liquid down the toilet. It can cause the porcelain to crack.
A toilet that shifts or rocks on its base is very uncomfortable to sit on. Tightening the bolts that hold the toilet seat in place may be the solution you need. If that doesn’t help, your wobbly toilet could be due to incorrect installation, inadequate sealing, or damage to your flooring from an active leak.
Finally, the problem could be that your toilet is too old. Do you know the age of your toilet?
Whichever is best for you — toilet repair or replacement — Out of This World Plumbing is here to help. You can trust our team of qualified plumbers for “out of this world” professional service. And while you’re shopping for a toilet, think about installing a bidet, as well. Bidets offer a method of personal cleansing that is convenient, sanitary, and environmentally sound. Your satisfaction is 100 percent guaranteed!
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