Toilet Replacement or Repair? Here's How to Choose Which Option Is Best for You

Toilet Replacement or Repair? Here's How to Choose Which Option Is Best for You

Did you know that the average household has at least three toilets?

If an old toilet is giving you trouble, you may assume that it needs to be replaced. While installing a new toilet may be the best option, if the fixture is giving you difficulties, it may not be the best solution for the current problem. Understanding how to complete a few repairs will help you solve small issues and avoid buying a new toilet.

You must understand when you should replace a toilet versus when you should repair it. That's why we put together a complete guide to help you better understand how to choose toilet replacement versus toilet repair. Keep reading to learn more!

Signs You Need to Replace an Old Toilet In Your Ottawa Home

If you don't have any experience in plumbing, it can be challenging to understand when your toilet isn't working the way it should be. If you think that it might be time for you to replace your toilet, here are the warning signs that you should keep an eye out for.

Consistently Clogging

It's normal for a toilet to clog now and then. A weakened flush can cause a clogged toilet and impact the cleanliness of the drain pipes.

If you find that your toilet is clogging more than once a week, it could be a sign that mineral deposits have built on the top of the drain.

These mineral deposits collect around the sides of the pipe and harden over time. Once they've accumulated, it makes it difficult for the water and any waste to pass through the pipes in your home. If the toilet that you installed has a weak flush or if it's old, it won't have the strength to blast away any of these metal deposits away from the drain pipes.

If you aren't sure if this is the exact reason why your toilet is clogging, you should call a drain cleaning service to have your pipes professionally cleaned. Once you have your pipes cleaned and your toilet is still clogging you, it's a sign that you should invest in a new toilet.

The Bowl or Tank Are Cracked

The tank and the bowl of your toilet are made of porcelain, mainly because it's durable, waterproof, and sanitary. Porcelain isn't the perfect product to use for toilets and can crack, causing a disastrous leak. Even if you've noticed a hairline fracture in your bowl or tank, it can grow over time and weaken the structure of your toilet.

Whenever you clean your toilet, make sure that you're keeping a lookout for any leaks or cracks. Be sure that you take time to feel around the wax sealing and look at it at the base of your toilet. You should also check inside the tank, outside the tank, in the bowl, and on the side of the bowl.

If there's a crack in your toilet that's actively leaking, you should make sure that you replace the toilet immediately. If it isn't replaced in time, the toilet could cause a flood that could ruin the flooring in your bathroom.

You've Noticed a Spike in Your Water Bill

If you notice an increase in your water bill, the cause of the spike may be a damaged toilet.

As a toilet age, it has to work harder to flush. This means that it may end up using more water to get waste to go down the drain. Even if your toilet doesn't seem to be showing any other signs of being ineffective, it could just be an outdated design that has a high water consumption.

If you're looking for ways to lower your water bill, replacing your older toilet with a modern model is a good way to start.

The Toilet Moves When You Sit on It

Toilets should never move. If you find that your toilet wiggles, shifts, or wobbles when you sit on it, it's a sign that your toilet is in trouble.

When a toilet isn't sealed correctly, or it's not set up properly, it could cause damage to your plumbing, damage to the structural integrity of your home, or cause a massive leak in your bathroom.

But before you rush out and buy a new toilet, make sure that the bolts on the seat aren’t just loose, if they are get them tightened. If you found that tightening the seat doesn't stop the moving or shifting, there could be a bigger problem at hand.

You should be sure to call a plumber as soon as you've found that adjusting the toilet seat bolts hasn't fixed the problem. It could also be a sign that your toilet has been actively leaking and that there's damage to the floor underneath your toilet.

Avoid using a toilet that's shifting until a trusted plumber has a chance to look at it. A professional Ottawa plumber will be able to help you fix the toilet without you having to replace it.

It Needs Too Many Repairs

If there's a crack or any other type of damage to your toilet, rebuilding it can be costly. While some minor repairs—like replacing the flapper, fill valve, or handle—are cheap and quick to fix, a major rebuild is very expensive.

Before you decide to replace your toilet, make sure that you take the time to weigh the cost of a new toilet versus how much repairs will cost you. If you find that your toilet has major problems, replacing it can be the best option for your wallet and help prevent potential water damage in the future.

Visual Scratches

Just like any surface, porcelain wears down over time. This means that it'll be much harder to keep your toilet clean. If you find that you're needing to clean your old toilet more frequently, buying a new toilet can help to take off some of the weight of maintaining a toilet off of your back.

Signs You Need to Repair Your Toilet

If the problems that your toilet is experiencing don't fall into the above-listed topics, you may not need to replace your toilet. Let's take a closer look at the signs that your toilet will show when it needs to be repaired:

Faulty Flushing

If you have to flush several times to finish the job, your toilet may have an issue with low water levels, a clog in the trap, sewer, or vent pipes, or a prematurely closing flapper.

Not only will these problems cause you to waste water and spike your water bill, but can also lead to more serious problems.

You should call a professional plumber to help you identify what repair needs to be made to your toilet.

The Tank or Bowl Don't Refill With Water

Another common problem with toilets is that after a flush, your toilet tank or bowl doesn’t properly refill with water.

The leading cause of a toilet tank not refilling is a malfunction with the fill valve. This fill valve can be replaced, but you have to make sure that you find the exact part that fits with your toilet’s model. A trusted plumber will help get you sorted.

Standing Water Around the Base of Your Toilet

If you've noticed there's been a collection of water around the base of your toilet, it means that your toilet has a leak. This could be the result of a faulty seal.

To stop the leak, you'll need to replace the seal. You must make this repair quickly, as it can quickly rack up your water bill or turn into a bigger leak that'll be more expensive to repair down the road.

Your Toilet Is Constantly Running

Even if you haven't flushed your toilet and you find that it is continuously running, it may be a sign that the flapper valve isn't closing correctly. To test if the flapper valve just wasn't installed properly, try jiggling it to see if it'll completely close.

However, if this problem continues to happen, your toilet will need a new flapper valve. Contact a professional plumber to determine if the flapper valve is the reason that your toilet is constantly running.

Rust on the Metal Parts of the Toilet

When you clean your toilet, you may notice corrosion or rust on the metal parts of your toilet. While this wear will only happen on certain parts of the toilet, it means that these parts of the toilet will need to be replaced soon.

While widespread corrosion inside of the toilet needs to be replaced, if there are only a few sections that are rusty, you can quickly repair these metal parts with new pieces.

The Tank Takes a Long Time to Refill

Have you noticed that it takes a long time for your toilet to refill? This may be a sign that your shut-off valve isn't properly functioning.

The easiest way to solve this problem is to look around the tank of your toilet and inspect the fill line. A shut-off valve can wear over time, but it's an easy repair to make to your toilet.

If the water levels are too low in the bowl, the toilet may have a partial clog. However, if you find that the water level is too low and that there's water around your toilet, it could be a sign that your toilet is leaking.

A professional plumber can identify the cause of the low water level.

The Handle of Your Toilet Is Loose or Stuck

The handle on your toilet is used multiple times every day. Being constantly moved increases the chances of them loosening.

Not only do loose toilet handles affect the flushing performance of your toilet, but you may even find that the handle has completely fallen off.

If you find that your toilet handle is stuck or feels too loose, a plumber can make adjustments to ensure that your toilet handle functions properly after they repaired it.

How to Properly Care for Your Toilet

After you've replaced or repaired a toilet, taking care of your toilet will keep it in perfect working condition. Here's how to properly care for your toilet:


Not only does regular cleaning help to keep your toilet looking fresh but using the proper cleaning methods will ensure you don't harm your toilet.

Don't use cleaners that you drop in the tank. This is because these can cause damage to the rubber flaps and other materials inside of the tank of your toilet.

Using a solution inside of the bowl to keep your toilet clean is fine, but be sure to use cleaners that are porcelain safe to prevent staining.

Watch What You're Flushing

Toilets are designed to flush human waste and toilet paper. It is best practice to avoid flushing anything else. Not only for your toilet but also for your pipes.

If you aren't careful of the things you flush down your toilet, you'll increase the likelihood of damaging your toilet’s plumbing.

Understanding When to Repair or Replace a Toilet

Toilets are easy to operate, but once something goes astray, it can take a trained eye to pinpoint the problem. Thankfully, the majority of the parts are repairable or replaceable with the help of a professional plumber. If you're not sure whether you need to replace your old toilet, consulting with a plumber can help you ensure that your toilet doesn't cause any expensive or extensive damage.

Are you worried about the current condition of your toilet? Our local Ottawa plumbing experts are happy to help and provide you with your best options. For a great toilet service experience, call Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa today or contact us today.