Do Toilets Go Bad?

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Toilets have many parts inside the tank that require replacement over time.
Toilets have many parts inside the tank that require replacement over time. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Toilets are made from extremely durable materials, such as porcelain and ceramic and can withstand a lot of abuse. The National Association of Home Builders reports that while toilets have an unlimited lifespan, the various components inside the toilet do break and need occasional repair. These parts can easily be replaced, eliminating the need to remove and replace the entire toilet.

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Wax Seal Deterioration

When the toilet is installed, a wax seal is placed under the bowl where it meets the drain pipe. It's this seal that prevents water from leaking out of the toilet and onto the floor. Over time, the wax seal can deteriorate, causing a leak. When this happens, you must remove the toilet, pull up the wax seal and replace it with a new one.

Flapper Valve Failure

The flapper valve is made of rubber and located on the base of the toilet tank. It covers the drain and regulates water flow into the bowl. The rubber valve can become worn over time and lose its ability to seal the drain, resulting in a constant stream of water flowing into the bowl. The cost of the flapper valve varies based on the specific toilet, but usually range between $2 to $10 and can be installed in a few minutes.

Loose Toilet Seat

Toilet seats are secured to the bowl with plastic bolts, which can be prone to cracking after years of use. If the toilet seat is loose, you can either purchase replacement plastic bolts or buy a new toilet seat, which will come with the proper installation hardware.

Leaking Tank

A leaking tank is not an indication that the tank is faulty, but more likely that the bolts securing the tank to the bowl need to be tightened. Vibrations from the toilet over time can cause the bolts to become loose, allowing water to seep out from under it. To fix the problem, tighten the bolts and if that doesn't solve the problem, replace the washers as well to get as tight of a seal as possible.

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