The toilet probably isn't something you give much thought to—until it stops working. If you're not sure whether the plumber should repair or replace the bathroom fixture, take a look at the questions you need to ask first.
Does Your Toilet Clog Often?
Toilets clog for many reasons. Many of these are nothing more than the wrong amount or type of toilet paper or mineral/debris buildup inside the bowl. While these cause intermittent clogs, a plunger and a little patience can typically solve the problem. But a toilet that clogs often or doesn't respond to a plunger may indicate a more serious plumbing problem.
If you (or someone in your household) repeatedly flushed non-flushable items, there's a main sewer line backup, or the clog is too far down the drain for you to remove, your toilet requires a professional repair. The plumbing services contractor can use an auger to break the clog apart and remove it. A clog that starts at the main line also requires an expert fix.
While these types of issues won't necessarily require a toilet replacement, a constantly clogging toilet that's old, worn, or has low flushing power may. Discuss the options with the professional to determine what the most cost effective answer is. Repeat clogs that require repeat repairs may cost you more than a replacement in the long-run.
How Old Is Your Toilet?
An older toilet doesn't always equal a replacement. For that matter, it won't always mean you need to call a plumber for a repair. It's possible for a decade's old toilet to work perfectly well—especially if you've cared for it or the past homeowners maintained it well.
How long is a toilet's lifespan? The answer to this question depends on the type of toilet you have in your home. The interior tank components may only last five years, but the actual fixture could have a century-long lifespan.
When combined with other issues, such as a serious clog, leaks, cracks, or other plumbing problems, you may want to consider replacing an aging toilet. Even though a repair could fix a minor issue, a replacement gives you years' worth of use and may increase efficiency—saving you money.
Is Your Water Bill High?
A leak or inefficient toilet can significantly raise your water bill. If your utility costs outweigh the replacement price, it's time to consider a new toilet.
If you're still not sure whether repair or replace the toilet, talk to your plumber. The professional has the experience and expertise to evaluate the issue and make a recommendation that works for you, your budget, and your plumbing needs.