Toilets are fairly simple contraptions. They have improved over the last few hundred years since the first toilet was invented by Sir John Harrington at the end of the 16th Century. The first flush required over 7 gallons of water and the bowl was 2 feet deep. Thomas Crapper, the man responsible for the sardonic term for the toilet, improved and patented the design. Today, toilets have a good reputation for never going bad.
Water Efficiency Concerns
Over the years, toilets have become more water efficient. Today’s newest models only use 1.6 gallons each flush. This is according to federal specifications. There are some high efficiency toilets that only require 1.28 gallons per flush (GPF). But for the most part, toilets manufactured and installed prior to 1992 back to the early 1980’s, use 3.5 GPF. Before that each flush was costing homeowners between 5 and 7 GPF. So, if you are wanting to replace your toilet for efficiency concerns, you will essentially pay for it fairly quickly and in the long run, you will be cutting your cost per flush in half or more, depending on just how old your toilet it.
Life Expectancy of a Toilet
Toilets have an average life span of around 50 years. They can easily exceed this when properly maintained. As mentioned before though, it is more cost efficient to replace an old toilet than to keep maintaining it.
Toilets need regular maintenance just like any other fixture in your home. Inside the tank is where the working components are found. The components are now mostly plastics and rubbers as opposed to the older metal parts prone to corrosion. They are submerged under water for the majority of their life and can crack or become coated in mineral sediment. If you live in an area that is known to have hard water, you may need to de-scale your toilet on a fairly regular basis.
In all reality, the cost of maintaining a toilet is around $20 every 10 or so years to replace a flapper or a float, possibly a fill valve. The majority of reasons people replace their toilet today is from renovating their bathroom and will already have it uninstalled. There are times the bowl may become cracked, but unless it is leaking, it is only a matter of keeping an eye on it. There are also fancy toilets with heated seats or bidets that use a stream of water replacing the need of traditional toilet paper. It all boils down to preference really.