For one of the busiest fixtures in one of the busiest rooms in the house, the humble toilet doesn't get much attention unless something goes wrong. It's easy to decide that it needs replacement if there's water all over the floor. But what about subtle issues that are just as detrimental?
Here's how to decide if the porcelain throne in your bathroom is perfectly fine, or if you should turn it into a flower planter.
Cracks are typically clear signs of a toilet problem. But some cracks are very small, and some don't appear to affect the toilet's function. If no water leaks out, wouldn't it be fine to live with the damage and replace the toilet later, if the cracks get worse?
Any crack means that it's time to replace the toilet. And there are several reasons why.
A crack in the bowl lets water escape, even if it's in such small amounts that you don't notice it. The last thing that you want is toilet bowl water leaking into the subfloor, but that's what happens. It's just not sanitary. Also, a crack is a very weak spot in the porcelain. You never know when the pressure of someone sitting down will worsen the crack or even break the toilet in half.
We get it. There's a big market for vintage homes and the vintage fixtures that to into them. But a vintage toilet is incredibly wasteful, no matter how great it seems to work.
Toilets have no moving parts except for the tank accessories. So a vintage model could last virtually forever as long as you replace the flapper and other parts as they wear out. But the one thing you can't change is the size of the water tank.
A new toilet uses significantly less water per flush than an older toilet. And if you're worried about low water equaling a poor flush, those days are over. New models are vastly improved over first-generation low-water toilets. Now you can save money, conserve water and get the operation that you need.
If you have a newer toilet but find yourself wishing for an old, inefficient, wasteful one that never clogged up, you have another reason to upgrade again.
Low-flush toilets were a great idea in the beginning, but the design hadn't quite been perfected with the earliest models. Repeated flushings negated the water conservation of smaller tanks. But one of the most annoying side-effects was recurring clogs. If you have to keep a plunger handy, it's time to replace.
New low-flush toilets may use as little as a gallon per flush, but have no backup issues. That's because the trap has been redesigned and there's also a pressure-assisted flush mechanism that needs less water to work more effectively.
Just because a toilet can last forever doesn't mean that it should. If yours is more than a few years old, it's probably a good idea to think about a replacement.
Cracks can give way at any time. They also let unsanitary water seep out to your floor. Scratches inside the bowl also collect stains. Older low-flush toilets often suffer from bad design.
There are many reasons to upgrade your older, inefficient toilet, and few reasons to put it off. If you want to conserve water, reduce clogs and have an easier time with cleaning, let Rodenheiser bring your plumbing into the 21st century.
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