As we age, so do our homes and appliances, and it can be easy to forget about the porcelain throne when considering home upgrades and plumbing repairs. However, ignoring toilet problems can lead to significant household plumbing repairs and cost you hundreds of dollars in extra water bills.
Recognizing some of the early signs of toilet problems can help lessen the amount you'll need to spend on repairs and replacements. Also, understanding the average costs associated with replacing an old toilet can help you to avoid overpriced options and get the best possible deal.
Keep reading to discover more about toilet installation and repair!
Common Toilet Issues and Repairs
Before you order a brand-new toilet to replace your old model, you may want to weigh the pros and cons between repairing and replacing. Toilets, when well-maintained, can enjoy exceptionally long lives. Below are some of the most common toilet issues and their corresponding repairs.
Toilet Tank Won't Refill Itself
A toilet tank that won't refill itself can be sincerely frustrating, as there are many potential causes behind it. You may need to adjust the fill valve, adjust the float ball, or check your home's water pressure. Often these components may require replacement as they fill with scale over time from our hard Edmonton water.
Toilet Is Constantly Running
A running toilet can waste hundreds of litres of water every single day. That equates to quite a lot of wasted money on water bills in addition to clean water waste.
Most often, a toilet that refuses to stop running is the result of an internal breakage or flaw. A cracked or damaged toilet flapper (the rubber plug that seals the tank shut after flushing), faulty chain, float ball, or float arm can all contribute to this costly issue. If you hear your toilet running at all hours of the day and night, it's best to fix it sooner rather than later.
Toilet Clogs Often
A clogged toilet is an unsightly issue, and a toilet that clogs consistently can lead to stained porcelain, subterranean plumbing problems, and more. Edmonton drain cleaning service can help to clear a home's clogged drains and reduce the amount of gunk and mess that homeowners must deal with.
However, there are a few things that any tenant or owner can do to help their drains stay clean and clog-free. Using smaller amounts of toilet paper, only flushing toilet paper and human waste, and using a plunger when necessary are all excellent ways to keep clogs at bay.
However, when clogs are intense and refuse to dissipate, it may be time to contact a professional Edmonton plumbing company for assistance.
Toilet Leaks Water Underneath
Toilets with leaky bottoms can be particularly challenging to diagnose, uniquely when they are placed directly beside a shower or bathtub. Discerning the origin of such a leak may require expert help. Fortunately, many plumbing teams offer a free diagnosis and inspection before committing to a repair or replacement.
Still, a leaky toilet may be fixed with a wrench and a little elbow grease. The water may be pooling as a result of loose bolts that connect the toilet to the floor. However, pooling water beneath a toilet can also be a symptom of worn-down flange wax. In these cases, the toilet will need to be fully disassembled and removed.
Toilet Won't Flush Fully
A toilet that refuses to flush may be suffering from low water pressure. However, it's also possible that the drain is clogged, the tank isn't correctly re-filling itself, or there are issues with the internal components.
A faulty flapper or broken chain are two of the most common component-related causes behind a poorly flushing toilet and then need to be replaced.
Toilet Handle Sticks or Falls Off
Though it's easy to blame the toilet handle when it refuses to budge, it's often the flapper or chain's fault. A toilet's flush handle is directly connected to the arm, string, and flapper system inside of a toilet's tank. When even one of these components begins to degrade, the entire system encounters issues.
However, if a toilet handle falls off and away from the toilet, it's likely an issue of worn threads, and the handle or attachment may need replacing.
Toilet Makes Odd Noises
Sometimes, toilets make the strangest sounds. These sounds can vary between a loud foghorn and a low hiss. Most toilet noises are caused by valve issues, which are thankfully relatively easy to fix.
Does Hard Water Effect Toilets?
The answer is an undeniable yes. If you’re not sure what hard water is, its water with excessive minerals dissolved in it, especially calcium and magnesium. Our hard Edmonton water wreaks havoc on plumbing fixtures, especially our toilets. First, the minerals cause scale buildup within the fill valve of the toilet which cause issues with filling the tank, either not filling enough or too much.
Second, it can also leave scale on the hole that the flapper aims to plug which prevents it from getting a good seal and will cause leaks.
Third, as the toilet ages all the internal paths that water is directed when you flush slowly scale over the years. Eventually you’ll start to notice that the flush isn’t what it used to be because the water isn’t flushing with the same vigour it used to. This last problem is challenging to fix because none of these waterways are accessible for cleaning. Usually when your toilet is reaching this stage it is time to go.
How Long Do Toilets Last?
Toilets can last for an average of fifty years. That's half a century of daily use! However, the plumbing they're connected to isn't likely to survive nearly as long. Toilets tend to be replaced around the 25-year mark when plumbing lines are updated, repaired, or replaced, and even earlier since newer toilets are more economical, costing you less money in the long-run.
Still, thanks to modern engineering and manufacturing innovation, newer toilet models could potentially outlive the people they serve. Proper maintenance is critical when hoping to extend the longevity of a toilet. This includes periodic maintenance to related water and plumbing lines.
What won’t last as long within a toilet is the flush mechanism, at least not with our hard Edmonton water. You may find that you’re having to replace the flush mechanism every 10 years or so due to the scale deposits within. Also, the chlorine in our water is hard on rubber components like the flapper as well as gaskets and seals so they may fail in time as well.
Toilet Installation: Step-By-Step
A quality toilet installation service doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and it takes as little as one hour to complete depending on the circumstances. However, it's possible to install a new toilet by yourself. If you're determined to handle a toilet installation without outside help, there are a few essential rules to follow.
Gather Your Tools
Before you can install a new toilet, you must first get rid of the old one! The first step in this process is gathering the tools and supplies you'll need for the job. Most toilet installation jobs will require:
- An adjustable wrench
- A replacement toilet flange (maybe)
- Long, thick rubber or latex gloves
- Replacement toilet flange wax seal
- A paint scraper
- A plastic bucket
- Mechanical grease or lubricant
- Wet dry vacuum
It may also be a smart idea to dress in old, ragged clothing. Doing so will prevent you from getting oil, caulk, or dirty water on your delicate threads.
Shut off the Water and Disconnect Line
After you've gathered your supplies, you need to shut off the water supply to the old toilet. Most toilets are connected to a water line via a valve directly beneath them. Locate this valve and turn it off.
Then flush your toilet. Most of the water from the tank should flush. If your water valve is shut correctly, the tank will not refill.
Any remaining water can be vacuumed up with your wet dry vacuum. It's not the most glamorous part of toilet installation, but you'll be glad that you drained all of the water out before attempting to remove the bowl!
Once the water is completely gone, you can now disconnect the water line from the toilet base. Loosen the hose that attaches the bowl to the wall with an adjustable wrench. If it doesn't want to budge, apply more pressure.
Remove the Tank
Now that you're not in any danger of accidentally flooding the bathroom, you can remove the upper portion of the toilet: the tank. An adjustable wrench is a perfect tool for loosening the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl.
Beware—a toilet tank can be cumbersome. If you aren't capable of lifting 50lbs for more than a few seconds, it may be wise to call for help during this step. Having a partner help with this step would be a smart choice for anyone regardless of strength.
Note that this step can be skipped, but the toilet is much heavier when still together in one piece!
Loosen the Bowl and Remove
Now that the top of the toilet has been removed, you can go ahead and get working on the bottom portion. The toilet bowl will most likely be bolted and caulked to the floor. The bolts should be loosened first, and then a paint scraper can help you remove pesky caulking.
Because the bolts and nuts found at the base of a toilet often come into contact with moisture, they're often rusted and difficult to remove. That's why it's always a good idea to have a little metal lubricant handy when completing this step. Once the bolts and caulking are removed, the bowl should lift straight up and reveal a flange.
Before moving onto the next step, it's a good idea to take an old rag or hole-filled t-shirt and stuff it into the drain hole. Sewer gases not only smell incredibly foul, but they can also be harmful to your home's air quality. And when you don’t plug the drain, its almost guaranteed that you’re going to drop a tool down there!
Inspect and Renew
If it's been more than a decade since your toilet was replaced, it may be time to replace the toilet flange. Cracked, damaged flanges can lead to leaks in the floor which will cause significant damage over time. Before installing a new toilet, it's vital to ensure that the drain flange beneath it is in tip-top shape.
The old wax seal should be gently removed with a scraper or rag and replaced with fresh wax before a new toilet bowl is deposited and sealed.
Place New Toilet and Bolt Down
From this point forward, you primarily just work backward. You're going to want to carefully position and place your new toilet bowl over the drain and flange with new wax seal and bolt it to the floor. Of course, if the bolts from the previous toilet were rusty, it's time to use new, rust-resistant ones.
After the bolts have been tightened and the bowl is secure, you will need to caulk the edges and the bowl and smooth the caulking with a paint scraper or similar tool. This caulking is there only to keep water from going underneath the toilet base and isn’t a necessary part of the installation. If you prefer to caulk the toilet, do not caulk the entire footprint of the toilet. Leave a section of at least a few inches without caulk, so that if there is a leak underneath the toilet, you will see it coming out that opening.
Attach Tank and Secure
You may want to briefly allow the caulking to dry before attaching the tank and securing it to the bowl. Doing so can help prevent any caulk-related mishaps, such as air gaps and broken seals. However, securing the tank is very similar to securing the bowl bolts, and a wrench will likely make fast work of it.
Connect Line and Turn Water On
Once the toilet is attached correctly, bolted, and sealed, it's time to attach the water line to the base. During this step, it's incredibly important to double-check the connection between the valve hose and the toilet. Any leaks or gaps can result in significant water damage.
Once you're satisfied, you can go ahead and turn the water valve back on.
Test for Leaks and Enjoy
The very next thing that anyone should do when installing a new toilet is to check their work. Here are a few standard things to look and check for after completing a new installation:
- Does it flush thoroughly?
- Does it have any leaks?
- Can it support weight well?
- Is it making any strange noises?
- How quickly is the tank re-filling?
If the toilet manages to satisfy all of these questions, then the installation was a success.
Average Cost to Replace a Toilet
There are a few variable costs to consider when attempting to determine the average cost of replacing a toilet. To begin with, there's the new toilet itself. Most brand-new toilets cost anywhere between $100 and over $1000 with most falling somewhere around $300.
Installation costs typically fall anywhere between $100 and $400, depending on the specific work required. And lastly, most plumbing services offer to haul away the old toilet. This service isn't usually free and can cost about $50.
So, in total, replacing a toilet could cost anywhere between $200 and $1,500 depending if you are doing it yourself and also of course what kind of toilet you choose. The final estimate will depend on the replacement toilet's price, the difficulty of the installation, and whether you choose to have the oil toilet professionally removed or not.
What Toilet Should I Choose?
Something that is very important to remember is that not all toilets are created equal, you generally get what you pay for. There are some toilets that professional plumbers will refuse to install because they are so poorly made that they often don’t survive the installation process!
Other toilets may look really sharp but flush really poorly which is not something that you’ll be happy with down the road. Others are designed specifically for amazing trouble-free functionality and looks.
It can be hard to determine what will be best for your needs. A Mr. Rooter plumber can be a great resource for you to find the toilet that will suit your needs best while working within your price range. Make sure you know if you want a regular height toilet or a “comfort height” toilet, and if you want a round front bowl or an elongated front. This will make the process easier.
Don't Fear - Edmonton Toilet Repair and Replacement Service Experts Are Here!
Replacing your toilet doesn't have to be a stressful experience, especially when you have a little knowledge and expertise on your side. If you're unsure about replacing a toilet on your own, you can always get in touch with the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton for help.
If you still have any questions or concerns regarding toilet installation, repair, or replacement, please feel free to reach out to us or call (780) 429-3600 for prompt service. Our team of professionals can help you to restore your Edmonton home's plumbing to ideal conditions today!