Although designed to keep up with daily use for years, there comes a time when toilets do require repairs or replacement. So, how long do toilets last? The answer depends on the quality of the materials used for their construction, their design, and, of course, whether they are used heavily and properly.
However, unlike many other household items, toilets are built in such a way to last for an extended amount of time, with models that can serve your needs for more than 20 years. The reason behind that is quite simple. Toilets are nothing complicated as far as their structure and design are regarded. They don’t require electricity and are fairly easy to maintain.
More often than not, a few repairs can get a toilet back in order, and thus replacement can be postponed. Still, when the damage is significant, and the usual repair can’t solve it, getting a new one is the only solution. Before we get more into that, let’s learn more about these household products.
Today’s toilets and their longevity
When talking about the durability and longevity of a toilet, these features differ from brand to brand. However, if we talk about today’s toilets, and when we say today’s toilets, we refer to the ones built from 1994 on, the one you’re using might even be younger than you.
This year marks a significant step in the building process of these household items, and that’s because it is the year when the law known as the Energy Policy Act of 1992 was implemented. Prior to 1994, toilets were built in such a way that led to significant water consumption whenever used.
A toilet flush could then consume 16 gallons of water whenever the user pushed the handle. This had a great impact on the water resources and the user’s water bill. That’s why the government came up with this law that required toilet manufacturers to build models that consumed only 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
Therefore, if you live in a house built after 1994, the toilet should be one of these models. If the house or apartment you live in is older and the toilet hasn’t been replaced, then chances are that the toilet is one of the older models and will most probably require replacement sometime in the near future.
According to manufacturers and plumbers, some toilet models can last up to 50 years, even if used regularly. Now, this figure can go down if the user’s weight is on the high side. A heavier user is more likely to cause strain to the toilet, and thus repairs and replacements might be needed sooner than in other cases.
Despite being advertised as lasting for up to 50 years, a toilet will most probably need to be replaced after 20-30 years of regular use if maximum safety and efficiency are desired.
Signs that toilet replacement is needed
A few minor scratches that don’t affect the way a toilet works but just its appearance are usually not a good enough reason to get a new toilet. In case you notice leaks, recurrent clogging, cracks, and other similar issues, repairing it might just not do it, and replacement might be the only way to solve the problem. Here are a few signs that you need a new toilet:
This is one of the most common toilet problems but not always the easiest to spot. Unfortunately, leaks can go unnoticed for a long time, and they are spotted only when there is visible damage, such as damage to the room below the bathroom.
To make sure that you prevent leaks from causing major damage, keep an eye on the toilet tank and bowl and inspect them carefully. Also, keep tabs on the floor as well as the ceiling of the room below the bathroom.
- Frequent clogging
A toilet that clogs frequently is one of the most common issues, and getting a new one is the thing to do. If you need to flush more than once in order for the toilet to do its job, it is highly likely that there is some sort of stoppage. If plunging it frequently no longer seems doable at some point, replacing the toilet with a new one is the solution.
What’s more, you can thus go for a low-flush model that will also help you save. A toilet that clogs frequently and thus requires you to flush more often will have an impact on your water bill.
Even if plunging it might seem more convenient money-wise at the moment, in the long run, you still get to spend considerably if you ask a plumber to help you with that or if frequent flushing is required.
Easy to spot and seemingly inoffensive, cracks can do a lot of damage if ignored. They are not a matter of aesthetics but one of safety. Toilets are built from durable materials that should withstand heavy use, but cracks might still occur at times. The reasons are various. The materials might not be that durable, the toilet is old, or the users are heavy and thus cause strain to it.
Regardless of what caused those cracks, replacing the toilet as soon as possible is recommended. You might spot them on the edges and sides, and if you do so, taking the necessary steps to have a new toilet installed is the safest approach. That’s because cracks in these areas can lead to breakage, which can further cause injuries if the toilet breaks when it is being used by you or one of your family members.
In case cracks occur on the toilet bowl, you might still be able to use the toilet for a time, but regular inspection is a must. Keep an eye on these cracks, and if they do get bigger, waste no more time and replace it. Not to mention that cracks can also cause leaks, so take a close look at it whenever you flush to see if there’s any water leaking and thus avoid further damage.
- Frequent repairs
If you call the plumber too often because the toilet always seems to have a problem, getting a new one might actually be a more inspired option from a financial point of view in the long run.
Little repairs now and then might not be a problem and are recommended instead of a replacement, but if they get bigger and more frequent, a new low-flush toilet is a cost-effective alternative, although it might not seem so at first.
Even though an old toilet still does its job quite well, it might no longer look as you would like it to despite cleaning it regularly. Toilets get scratched and worn with time, and stains and rings might form.
Sometimes, these stains won’t go even if you use the best cleaning products. If the toilet gets unpleasant to look at and you’d like to refresh your bathroom decor a bit, then getting a new model is a solution.
- High utility bills
As we’ve said before, older toilets are likely to consume more water. Many of the models built before 1994 feature tanks that require 3.5 gallons of water per flush or even more. If that’s your case and you want to lower your water bill, getting a newer toilet model will help you save. Many of today’s toilets feature 2-gallon tanks, a characteristic you will most probably appreciate when you get the utility bill.
- Uncomfortable design
Sometimes, getting a new toilet is simply a matter of comfort. If your toilet is old and you no longer feel comfortable or your legs go numb when using it, the time to replace it has probably come. That might happen when the user gains weight, for example.
If the height and width of the toilet no longer match your comfort requirements, getting a new one that supports you well and feels comfortable is the thing to do. This gains even greater importance if you’re among those people who spend a lot of time on the toilet.
What to consider before getting a new toilet
If you’ve noticed any of the above-mentioned signs and thus need to replace your old toilet, there are a few things to take into account before adding a new model to your shopping cart. First of all, make sure it matches the rest of your bathroom as far as dimensions are regarded.
Measure the distance between the wall and where the center of the toilet base goes to get one that fits. Check the tank height and width as well as its capacity; plus, do the same with the toilet’s height, width, and length.
Besides getting a model that fits your bathroom and that will help you save on utility bills, choosing a comfortable design is also important, as we’ve highlighted above. Last but not least, consider the color and style that match your bathroom and preferences.