When Should You Replace Your Toilet? Here are the 9 Signs

Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by toilethaven

How do you know when to replace your toilet?

A toilet can last for decades. It can also last for one day. Some don’t even live long enough to see their new homes. They arrive broken.

You know it is time to replace your toilet if has a weak flush, it keeps on running, it frequently clogs, it is cracked, wobbles a lot, it is badly stained, you need a more comfortable or water-efficient toilet. Modern toilets are more water-efficient than old toilets but have a stronger flush and rarely clogs.

Some of the best flushing modern toilets uses only 1.28 gallons per flush compared to old toilets that use 3.5 gallons per flush or even more. Dual flush toilets will even save you much more water especially when flushing liquids.

You may also want to replace your old toilet and buy a more comfortable one. Most old toilets have a round toilet bowl and a standard height compared to most modern toilets that have an elongated bowl and are also comfort height toilets.

Toilet Repair vs Toilet Replacement

Should you replace your toilet are should you repair it? Not all old toilets need to be replaced. Some can be repaired and have them function again like new ones. Let us look at when you should replace your toilet and when to repair.

When to Replace a Toilet

  1. Clogs frequently
  2. Porcelain is cracked
  3. Needs frequent repairs
  4. Is a water guzzler
  5. Inefficient flushing
  6. It is faded/badly stained
  7. Need a new style/design
  8. You need a comfortable toilet
  9. Want to remodel the bathroom

When to Repair a Toilet

  1. When it keeps running
  2. The water level in the bowl is too low
  3. Clogs once in long time
  4. Insufficient water pressure
  5. Leaking between the bowl and tank

The most important thing is to know when to replace a toilet and when to repair a toilet. Toilet repairs are necessary from time to time. You cannot replace a toilet every time it has a problem and you definitely don’t need to call a plumber to fix a toilet at all times. Most toilet repairs are actually pretty easy to do on your own.

9 signs You Need to Replace Your Toilet

These are the 9 signs that tells you that your toilet has seen better days and that it is time to replace it:

1. Clogs Frequently

The is nothing as annoying as a constantly clogging toilet. It means that you have to plunge or snake it every so often. Apart from being irritating, it can be quite embarrassing when you have guests over and the have to deal with a clogged toilet.

The solution to a toilet that is frequently clogged is replacement. Otherwise it is going to inconvenience you and your guests a lot.

2. When the Toilet is cracked

Toilets are made of porcelain which cracks easily. A toilet crack does not have to be necessarily big for a toilet to be replaced. A hairline crack at the trap means the toilet bowl will always be empty.

The water at the bottom of the bowl helps to prevent sewer gases from entering the bathroom and house. If your toilet is cracked it will need to be replace promptly.

A cracked toilet bowl is characterized by water pooling around the base of the toilet or a damp basement ceiling. This could however be caused by a bad wax ring which can be easily replaced.

2. When the Toilet Needs Frequent Repairs

It is always a red flag when you have your plumber’s number on speed dial. Plumbers are actually not cheap. Just 2 hours with them and you will be talking upwards of a hundred dollars. Repairs also involves buying new toilet parts.

The cost of calling in a plumber 4 or 5 times is enough to buy a brand new toilet. If you therefore have become your plumber’s cash cow you should replace your toilet.

3. When the Toilet Flushing is Ineffective

Here is the thing. You go to the toilet, do the number 2, flush the toilet and then wait for a confirmation that everything is clear and that you should go back to reading your book.

That doesn’t happen though. Some brown stuff are left dancing in the bowl. This happens day in day out to you and your guests. The only way out here is to replace the toilet with a better flushing one.

A slow/weak flushing toilet can be fixed especially if the problem has to do with the water pressure but some are just defective from the factory. Those cannot be salvaged.

5. Needs a Better-Looking/Modern Toilet

It goes without saying that modern toilets are better designed and sleeker than old toilets. Most modern toilets have a one-piece design or even a skirted with a glazed surface.

Apart from just being sleek, modern toilets are really easy to clean and will without a doubt improve your overall bathroom décor.

6. When the Toilet is a Water Guzzler

Today we have toilets using only 0.8 gallons per flush. If you on the other hand still use the 3.5 gallons per flush toilet, you definitely need to replace it.

Apart from running your water bill high, a high water consumption toilet is bad for the environment. As a matter of fact, in some states like California and Texas, toilets with a rating of more than 1.28 gallons per flush cannot be sold.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actually started a program called WaterSense to sensitize homeowners the need to buy high-efficient toilets to save the environment. WaterSense-compliant toilets uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush and are labelled as such.

The federal requirement for new toilets in the United States is to have a consumption of not more than 1.6 gallons per gallon. I have written a post comparing 1.6 GPF and 1.28 GPF toilets. Read it here

7. When the Toilet is Badly Stained

After many years of use, a toilet will be stained no matter how well you clean it. This is due to mineral deposits that comes with the flush water.

Toilets also get scratched especially during snaking or when you have kids and kids like scratching surfaces. Whatever the case, a stained or scratched toilet does not look good at all and is best replaced.

Hard water stains can however be removed from a toilet bowl and especially the notorious brown toilet ring. Find out how here.

8. When You Need a More Comfortable Toilet

Most old toilets were made with a standard height and a round-front toilet bowl. That is by far not a comfortable combination especially for the elderly and tall people.

If you need a comfortable toilet, you can and should replace such a toilet with a comfort height toilet and one with an elongated toilet bowl and seat.

Comfort height toilets which are also known as ADA toilets have a toilet seat height of 17 to 19 inches. They are thus very easy to sit and stand from. Read more on the pros and cons of comfort height vs standard height toilets in this post.

Elongated toilets have a bowl that is about 2 inches longer than that of round toilets. They are therefore more comfortable than round toilets as they offer a bigger surface area to sit on. More on the pros of and cons of round vs elongated toilets in this post.

9. When You Need to Remodel Your Bathroom

A toilet is a vital component of a bathroom together with a shower cubicle, bathtub and vanity. A bathroom will always need constant improvements to make it look better and modern.

If for instance you have a small bathroom and feel your current toilet is taking up too much space, you may decide to replace it with a compact toilet which is best suited for small bathrooms.

Signs You Need to Repair Your Toilet

Here are the signs that you need to repair your bathroom and not to replace it:

When it is Wobbling

A wobbling toilet is easy to fix. It is mostly caused by the two bolts which hold it to the toilet flange being loose. In this case you will only need to tighten the bolts and your problem will be fixed.

If the bolts are not loose and toilet is not leaking, you can shim the toilet to level it. Toilet shims are readily available and cheap. Some people even slot in stainless washers or coins underneath the toilet bowl to stop it from wobbling.

When the Toilet can’t stop running

If your toilet can’t stop running, the problem is in the toilet tank. Either the fill valve or toilet flapper are damaged or the toilet float is not well adjusted.

Replacing a toilet fill valve or flapper is cheap and easy. Adjusting the toilet float is a 10 minutes job. Here is how to fix a running toilet.

When the Toilet is Leaking between the Bowl and the Tank

When your toilet is leaking between the bowl and the toilet tank, it means that the tank to bowl gasket is not sealing properly. The reason for this is either the gasket is worn out or the toilet tank bolts are loose.

Replacing the tank to bowl gasket and the toilet tank bolts is also a simple job which you don’t need to pay a plumber to do. Read more here.

When the Toilet bowl water Level is too Low

To adjust the water level in the toilet bowl, you will need to check the condition of the toilet fill valve, the refill tube and the toilet float

A low water level in the tank also means a low water level in the bowl. Adjust the level of water in a toilet tank and bowl is so easy. Check out this post.

When it clogs once after a Long Time

When your toilet is not prone to clogging and then it happens to clog one day, it means that something that is not meant to be flushed was actually flushed down.

In this case there is absolutely no need to replace the toilet. You can attempt to unclog your toilet on your own through the many available ways and when you are unsuccessful you can always call in a professional plumber.


When your toilet has run its course and is no longer serving you as it should or as you would want, then that is a right time to replace it. However not all toilet issues should lead you to replace your toilet. In some instances, some simple repairs can add more life to your toilet.