The right toilet could save you $110 a year

Published On: Jan 04 2014 10:21:19 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 05 2014 12:00:00 AM EST

Flush after flush after flush, your toilet goes through gallons of water each day, putting stress on rubber seals, copper pipes and its porcelain bowl. While toilets have a long lifespan, there will come a time when it’s time for replacement.

“Your options are really endless," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "Toilets have become very sophisticated over the years. You can find a very basic toilet for a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands of dollars for the state of the art toilet.

Angie’s List asked highly rated plumbers and contractors about buying and installing a toilet.

Factors to consider when buying a toilet:

Homeowners can choose between a one-piece or two-piece toilet, in which the bowl and tank are separate from each other Experts say the solid construction of a one-piece model makes it easier to clean and less prone to leaks, but also makes it up to 50 percent more expensive.

  1. Low-flow or low-flush: The Energy Policy Act in 1992 required all new toilets to be low-flow or low-flush, restricting their water usage to 1.6 gallons per flush instead of what used to be the average of 3.5 gallons per flush.
  2. Dual-flush: Homeowners may also purchase a dual-flush toilet where you select either 1.6 gallons of water to flush solid waste or about half that for liquid waste removal

Although an experienced do-it-yourselfer may be able to install a new toilet, most homeowners should hire a licensed plumber. A botched installation can result in slow leakage under the flooring, which wastes water and eventually rots the subfloor. In addition, porcelain can be extremely heavy and easy to chip or crack.

“Installing a toilet in of itself, is not a real complicated job, but you have to keep in mind that a toilet can be rather heavy, especially the porcelain, so you are going to need some extra hands to help you put it into place," said Hicks.

Common DIY mistakes include:

Angie’s List Tips: Hiring a plumber

  1. Turning off and disconnecting the water
  2. Repairing the shut-off valve if it’s not working properly.
  3. Draining the old toilet, removing it and inspecting the flange to see if repairs are needed.
  4. Setting the new toilet, connecting the water and testing to make sure the toilet works properly.