What To Do When Installing a New Toilet

On average, a household toilet should last around ten to fifteen years. It’s probably the most used fixture in your home, and yet you don’t think about it much until something goes wrong. You may not even consider buying a new toilet unless you’re doing bathroom renovations.

When something does go wrong with your toilet, however, you need to know what to do. Do you need to replace your toilet, or can it be repaired?

All sorts of problems appear with the toilet, this does not mean however that it’s necessary to replace it. There are times when it simple enough to repair a specific component or replace it. This can happen for various reasons.

For example, if the toilet leaks at the junction of the hose, simply turn off the water, disconnect the hose and coat it with silicone sealant. This will fix the leak. Or, if the tank does not hold water, and it constantly overflows, then you need to open the lid and replace the toilet drain system. These simple steps can extend the life of your toilet for a long time without the extra cost of replacing it.

However, in this article we will discuss the general guidelines of toilet problems and help you determine whether you need to repair, or replace your toilet.

When to repair your toilet?

  • A blocked toilet

A blocked toilet is usually something that can be repaired – and you may be able to do it yourself. Perhaps someone in the house is using too much paper or flushing things down that they shouldn’t be. Have a read of ways to prevent a blocked toilet. In most cases, a blocked toilet can be repaired.

  • A toilet that won’t stop running

The sign that this is happening is when you continue to hear a running water sound after you flush. It sounds like the tank is filling and won’t stop. This may indicate that one of the parts – most likely the float – isn’t working. After a flush, once the tank re-fills to a certain level, the float determines when the toilet should stop filling. If the float is damaged or worn out, it won’t do its job properly. This is usually an easy thing to repair.

  • Damaged sealant

Most toilets have a silicone sealant or caulking at the base of the toilet where it connects to the floor (the exception to this is more modern wall mounted toilets which may be sealed differently). If the sealant or caulking has been damaged, you may experience a leak. Replacing the sealant is fairly straightforward and usually means just a toilet repair job.

  • Low water level

If all of a sudden, the toilet isn’t filling with enough water, or you notice a change in the water level, there may be an issue with the close-off valve or there may be a partial clog. This will allow some water is to get through, but it won’t be working at 100%. Alternatively, there may be a larger issue with your plumbing or drainage system instead of the toilet itself. In any of these cases, it’s best to give us a call and we can diagnose what type of repair is needed.

  • Toilet won’t flush

If the toilet just won’t flush, we recommend starting with repairs rather than assuming the entire toilet needs to be replaced. Problems with the flushing could be caused by a number of things. There may be a clog, there may be a part not working properly or damaged (one of the valves, the float, chain or stopper), or there may be an issue getting enough water through the pipes. Get in touch with our toiler unblockers

When to replace your toilet?

  • A toilet that continually gets blocked

If a blocked toilet is a regular occurrence – and you’re being careful about what you’re flushing and are trying to prevent a toilet block – then it may be time to replace the toilet. If the toilet is old, it may not be worth it to continue to replace or repair parts. Most toilets last ten to fifteen years, but often people don’t know how their toilets are when they buy a house. If you are regularly having to fix it, your toilet may have reached its end of life and need replacing.

  • A toilet that continually won’t stop running

As we’ve described above, usually fixing a running toilet is quite a straightforward issue. There’s usually a couple of parts that need adjusting or replacing. However, if this is happening quite regularly, it’s time to replace the toilet.

  • Cracked bowl

If you notice a crack in the toilet bowl, tank or trap – no matter how small it is – we recommend replacing the toilet. There are two main reasons for this. First, a crack in the toilet will collect dirt and bacteria that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to keep clean thoroughly. Over time this will become quite unhygienic and unsightly. The second reason to replace a cracked toilet is the risk that a small crack will turn into a larger one – which will create a leak and cause expensive damage.

Note: You should never pour boiling water into a toilet, as it may cause the porcelain to crack.

  • A toilet that looks old and dated

You may want to replace a toilet that still works properly but looks old or dated. If the look of the toilet doesn’t match your renovation style, or parts of the toilet have discoloured over time, you may want to update the look. Modern toilets not only look different than older, rounder models, they also have different features. An important feature newer toilets have is the option to have a half flush or a full flush. This feature alone can help you save enough on your water bills to justify spending money on a new toilet.

Can you replace a toilet yourself?

Unless you are qualified plumber in New Zealand we would advise against replacing a toilet yourself. There may occasionally be small jobs that you can address yourself, like replacing the toilet seat, but replacing an entire toilet is a complex project that would ideally require the expertise of a plumber. 

If you need help selecting a toilet, the knowledgeable team at Sumich can help. Feel free to give us a call for some advice on how to choose a new toilet.