Should You Replace or Repair Your Old Toilet?

Replacing the existing toilet and buying a new toilet is costly. So nobody wants to bear the cost without being absolutely sure that the toilet must be replaced. That said, a malfunctioning toilet needs to be replaced if the extent of damage costs you comfort and also money through a high water bill. 

So, drawing a line between when to replace a toilet and when to repair it is important to help you avoid wasting money unnecessarily. This guide gives you a clear idea about it, and eventually, you will know whether your toilet should be repaired or replaced.

When to Repair Your Old Toilet

Weak Toilet Flushing

A weak flush in the toilet is a common problem that many of us experience. However, this problem can be easily repaired if the cause is not very serious. Multiple causes can lead to this problem, such as clogged rim jets, faulty flapper or float, etc. 

To deal with the problem, you need to first inspect the tank if all the components are working fine. With all the parts in the tank up and running, you need to clear up or unclog rim jets by scrubbing them with bristle brush because mineral deposits can accumulate there, blocking the way. Also, pouring vinegar into the tank will help loosen the mineral buildup that is clogging the rim jets. 

Tank or Bowl Fails to Refill with Water

Sometimes, the tank doesn’t refill with water or takes longer to refill. But that doesn’t mean you have to replace the toilet altogether. Fixing when your toilet tank isn’t refilled with water is usually very simple. 

Inside the tank, there is a component called the fill valve, which is responsible for letting water into the tank. If the fill valve malfunctions, the tank won’t refill properly. However, a faulty or damaged fill valve can easily be fixed or repaired. 

Another potential cause of the toilet tank not being refilled is a faulty adjustable float. The float and fill valve work together to refill and flush the toilet. When you flush the toilet, the float drops, which signals the fill valve to open. As the water starts pouring into the tank, the float rises with water up to a preset level. 

So carefully examine the functionality of this float valve, whether it is going up and down with the water level. Make sure it is not stuck in an odd angle in the tank. You can adjust the float arm to regulate or adjust the water level.

Running Water

Constantly running water is a nightmare for homeowners. If your toilet keeps running, you don’t have to replace the toilet entirely. You can be sure with your eyes closed that this problem arises from a faulty flapper inside the tank.

A flapper is a rubber seal that regulates water flow between the toilet tank and bowl. When you flush the toilet, a chain or handle lifts the flapper, triggering water from the tank to rush into the bowl. When not actively flushing, this flapper creates a watertight seal between the tank and bowl. 

So look for any crack on the flapper and replace it if it is damaged. A broken or worn-out flapper normally allows water to run into the bowl continuously. Sometimes, running water remains unnoticeable, and water bills soar. That’s why it is important to check the flapper occasionally and replace it if necessary. 

Pooling Around the Base

If a toilet leaks at its base, the problem is also repairable. Water can seep through the base when the gasket seal is worn or damaged. First, try to understand if the toilet moves or wobbles slightly when pressure is applied, such as when someone sits on it. 

If it moves, there is a problem with the toilet’s stability. You can fix them by tightening the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor. Despite doing so, water may still leak under the toilet if there is an issue with the wax gasket. So, you can replace the current wax gasket with a new one to prevent the leak.

Loose Toilet Flush Handle

A loose toilet handle can cause difficulty flushing. This minor inconvenience can easily be handled with a wrench. Simply open the tank lid and tighten the nut holding the handle. Turn the nut clockwise until the handle is properly tight. However, don’t attempt to tighten the nut too much, as it may break or damage the handle or toilet.

If tightening doesn’t resolve the issue, the next best thing to do is to replace the handle. Replacing it is also quite easy. You only need to bring a correct replacement of it, screw the new mounting nut, and install the handle.   

When to Repair Your Toilet

Cracks on Toilet

Cracks on the toilet should always be fixed by replacing the toilet. While many recommend resolving a small hairline crack by sealing it with a porcelain sealer, it is not ideal to do so. 

A crack on a porcelain surface may get bigger and wider little by little. If the crack is on the bowl surface, water may leak through it, creating a nasty situation. Additionally, the crack may even lead to an unprecended injury. 

When someone sits down heavily, the toilet bowl could shatter as the cracks get larger. Now a crack could be on the toilet bowl or tank. So you can simply replace on part that has a crack on it. 

Sometimes, these cracks remain hidden in the interior of the toilet or below the water level. That’s why it is crucial you carefully inspect the toilet for any of these problems. Even some leaky toilets are the result of damaged or cracked toilet bowls and tanks.

High Water Bill

Suddenly, the water bill rises, and there is nothing you find that seems to be the culprit. One of the reasons for this could be a damaged toilet tank or an old toilet tank. Older toilet loses their efficiency with age, wasting a lot of water through leaking and inefficient flushing. 

When you are confident that your toilet is not effective during flushing and multiple flushes are required to remove the waste completely from the bowl, then the best solution is to replace it with a water-saving toilet that won’t flush away your money. 

If your old toilet is guzzling water or lacks features like dual-flush functionality, upgrading to a newer model could be worthwhile.

Frequency of Repairs 

If you find yourself frequently repairing the toilet or replacing toilet parts, it might be a sign that your toilet is nearing the end of its lifespan. In such cases, investing in a new toilet could save you money in the long run by avoiding recurring repair costs.

Movement of Toilet

When the toilet moves slightly when you sit on it or apply slight pressure, you should immediately tighten the blots that are holding it to the floor. However, if the toilet still wobbles after tightening the bolts, then you have to replace the toilet. 

The reason is this movement could lead to leaks, which may cause water damage to your floors and subfloor. Additionally, continuous movement can weaken the seal and connection and even lead to the breakdown of the toilet’s structural integrity.

Conclusion

Whether your toilet needs repair or not should be decided by understanding the signs that your toilet is showing. It is a crucial step to know if your toilet needs repair or replacement. 

While certain issues like cracks in the tank or bowl, a noticeable increase in water bills, or significant structural damage may warrant a toilet replacement, other problems such as faulty flushing, inadequate refilling of the tank or bowl, or loose handles can often be solved through repairs.

Additionally, regular maintenance, proper cleaning, and being mindful of what you flush down your toilet are key practices to prolong the lifespan of your toilet and prevent costly repairs or replacements in the future. Consulting with a professional plumber can provide valuable insights and assistance in determining the best course of action for your specific situation.

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