Maintaining your plumbing is one of the most important tasks in your home. And when things don’t work properly, it can be frustrating and costly.

Constant clogs and slow-moving drains can be signs of bigger issues that need to be checked out by professionals. But if it’s your toilet that’s giving you problems, you might be wondering if it’s time to replace it. Here are the best ways to know.

Cracks and leaks

Cracks in the porcelain mean it’s definitely time to replace the toilet. But you may not always be able to see them. Sometimes hairline cracks can occur in the basin or around the base. These may be hard to see, but you’ll probably notice puddles of water in the same places on the floor. While this may not seem serious, cracks in the toilet can cause a lot of water waste. And they’ll also cause your toilet to run constantly. The best way to detect small cracks and leaks is to put dye in the toilet tank. This will make puddles more detectable and easier to find.

Constant repairs

Most toilets are expected to last around 50 years. However, some older toilets were not built to stand up to modern sewage systems and water supplies. If your toilet is more than a decade old and requires repairs, it’s probably time to replace it instead. In fact, government regulations say that toilets must flush at a rate of 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush). These standards were put into place by the US Energy Policy Act of 1992. And while government officials certainly won’t knock your door down and confiscate old toilets, they do require any new ones installed to meet the requirements.

But even if your toilet is new and you still have to call in a plumber too frequently, it’s usually much cheaper to buy a new one. Constant repairs means that a plumber is charging you for new parts and labor that are probably more expensive than buying and installing a new toilet.

Rocking or wobbling

Your toilet should sit securely on your floor. There should be no wobbling or movement whatsoever when you sit on it. But if you do notice movement, check to make sure it’s not just the seat that’s wobbling (this can be due to loose fittings). In this case, you may just be able to tighten the screws at the back of the seat. But even if you’re unable to tighten it, a toilet seat is a cheap and easy replacement part that you can pick up at almost any hardware store.

But if the whole toilet feels unstable, it could require a new wax seal or there may be water damage to the floor underneath it. If this seems to be the problem, it’s best to call a professional like the ones at CLee Plumbing Services to determine the extent of your damages. They can help you determine whether another professional needs to be called in for the floor. And they can help you replace your toilet.

If you decide to replace your toilet, you can call a professional or install it yourself if you know a little about them. Just make sure you turn off the water supply to your house before you begin. And purchase a new wax ring to lay down underneath it. When choosing the right toilet, consider buying economy or low-flush models to conserve water. Even though manufacturers are legally required to adhere to certain standards, some brands are still more efficient than others.