When to Replace a Toilet? – 6 Signs You Need to Know

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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when to replace a toilet

When the toilet has problems, our first instinct is to google repair instructions or have a plumber do the fixing. Sometimes, it works. But what if it doesn’t? How do you know when to replace a toilet?

The most common sign is the frequent repairs of different or the same toilet problems. Age can also be the reason.

This article will cover the signs you need a new toilet with explanations before you say goodbye to the porcelain unit.

6 Signs Your Toilet Needs Replacement

Most of the time, we can fix toilet problems by ourselves if they’re just minor issues like a broken trip lever or a simple clog.

But sometimes, the only solution is a toilet change. These are the indicators you need to install a new porcelain potty.

1. The Flush Is Not Working


A faulty flush can be caused by different factors:

  • broken flapper or handle and chain
  • broken or loose trip lever
  • damaged or not properly adjusted toilet float
  • mineral build-up in the rim jets

Once we address these and the flush starts working properly, then your toilet is still going strong.

However, if you’ve done all the possible repairs and even had a plumber check the work, but the flush is still not working or worse, non-existent, then it’s time to replace a toilet.

Flushing is probably the most important function of our toilet. So unless you’re willing to manually throw a bucket of water into the bowl every time you use it, then it needs to go.

2. Your Toilet Is Running Non-stop


Before you think about changing a toilet because of the constantly running water, you might just have to do one or all of the following:

  • properly connect the flapper chain to the flapper and trip lever
  • clean or replace the toilet flapper
  • fix the position of the toilet float

If these don’t work, then we have to say farewell to our old toilet. Because if you think toilet replacement is expensive, then you also don’t want to see your water bill shooting up for the next few months.

A running toilet can add $200 to the monthly water bill, so it isn’t really a good idea to ignore this problem.

See now: The total cost to replace a toilet here!

3. Your Toilet Has Cracks


Hairline cracks in the toilet will vary in size or severity, but they can usually be repaired using epoxy or a plumber’s putty.

  • Hairline cracks above the water line can be left alone, unless the crack is getting larger.
  • Hairline cracks in or below the water line will need to be sealed with epoxy or plumber’s putty.

We also have cosmetic cracks on the exterior part of the toilet that don’t affect its functions and quality.

But if there are large cracks inside the bowl and below the water line, then that is one of the signs of a bad toilet. Soon, there can be leaks, which will affect how the toilet functions and increase the water bill as well.

Big cracks in the toilet tank will also necessitate replacement. If your toilet is two-piece, then you just need to get a new tank as long as the bowl is still good.

4. Never-Ending Repairs


Toilet problems may happen every once in a while; it’s normal. As we said in the previous three signs, the solutions may just be replacing or cleaning specific parts in the tank.

But how often is normal? Well, if you have to do DIY repairs every week or you’ve already become friends with the plumber because you always need them in your bathroom, then that is when you need a new toilet.

Again, toilets can be one-piece or two-piece. In two-piece toilets, if the plumber rules out that the problem is only in the tank or the bowl alone, then you can just replace the broken piece.

But if your toilet type is one-piece, unfortunately, you will have to dispose of it entirely.

5. The Toilet Always Clogs


Clogs don’t always mean a bad toilet. Sometimes, all you need to do is unclog it by using some of these:

  • toilet flange plunger
  • toilet snake or auger
  • baking soda and white vinegar mixture
  • your hands with gloves (if the culprit for the clogging is within reach!)

If you’ve done all these and called a plumber but your toilet still clogs all the time, then it’s time for an old toilet replacement.

The cause for this issue can be that you have an old version of a low-flow toilet. This type has weaker pressure that makes it hard to fully flush the waste.

6. The Toilet Lifespan Has Been Reached


Can a toilet go bad because of age? Unfortunately, yes. The average life of a toilet is between 10 to 50 years. So while it doesn’t happen quickly, our porcelain potties will wear out as time goes by.

Your 20-year-old toilet may already have its flushing power at a weak state or the repairs don’t work anymore.

On the brighter side, newer toilets are more efficient in water usage with 1.28 gallons used per flush instead of 1.6 gallons or even higher; units made in the 1980s used at least 3.5 gallons per flush.

Other Reasons for Toilet Replacement


Since 10 to 50 years are how long should a toilet last, buying a new one may not yet be necessary for you. But if you want the benefits of the newer toilet models for:

  • efficiency
  • water conservation
  • aesthetic reasons
  • other features to cater to your needs (e.g. incinerating toilet)

Then you can definitely replace your old toilet even if it hasn’t reached its lifespan, considering that you have the budget.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How Often Should You Replace a Toilet?

First, there is no such requirement to “regularly” replace your toilet; it will depend on the state of your unit. If yours is already worn out even though you just bought it five years ago, then you will benefit from a replacement.

While the lifespan for toilets is between 10 to 50 years, they are often replaced once they reach their 25th year.

Also read: How long would it take to replace a toilet?

Why Would a Toilet Need Replacing?

A toilet needs replacing if it no longer functions properly. As we’ve mentioned earlier in the article, we have:

  • malfunction in flushing
  • running water
  • cracked material
  • constant clogging

These can cause constant repairs and they can also occur because of the toilet’s old age.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, then the toilet that you have has to be replaced because it no longer serves your needs and gives you hassle.

Repair vs Replace Toilet: What Should I Do?

Toilet problems like clogs or weak flushing can just be caused by a problem in the tank. Try addressing them first by adjusting, cleaning, or replacing the broken part.

Maybe the trip lever’s chain is not properly attached or the float needs to be lowered.

But if these problems occur every week or even every month, you might want to have a plumber check the toilet. They will give a verdict when the repairs are not enough and you have to replace the unit.

More detail: Repair vs replace toilet


Our potty will experience problems through the years, usually minor ones that we can resolve by ourselves. But if these repairs happen often, then it must be time to buy a new unit.

There are common signs that tell you when to replace a toilet. A weak flush, running water, and a cracked or clogged toilet are some of them. If your porcelain potty is also needing constant repairs—possibly due to its old age—then that is also another indicator.

Read next: Average Cost to Move a Toilet

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