Plumbing fixtures are all throughout your home, and like just about everything else, they have a life span. It is pretty much a guarantee that, at some point in your life, you have witnessed a leaky faucet, or a shower that just keeps dripping, or a toilet that flushes randomly in the middle of the night. When dealing with a plumbing fixture gone bad, the most common question is whether to attempt a repair, or to replace the fixture entirely.
When deciding the best way to take care of a fixture problem, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it is almost never better to put new parts in an old fixture. There are exceptions to that rule, however. Let’s take a look at a couple of common scenarios…
Continuously dripping faucet – This is a very common occurrence, and is also probably the most debated. The faucet is old, and it will just not stop dripping. Do you rebuild or replace it? Yes, you may get as much as a couple more years out of the faucet by doing a rebuild, so you will save some money in the short term. Long term, however, it is almost always cheaper to replace it.
As fixtures age, they constantly go through the process of expanding and contracting. They also accumulate grooves and other signs of wear. As the internal parts age with them, they slowly go through those changes as well, until they fail. If you put new parts in the old fixture, you are putting a lot of extra wear on those parts, right away.
In fact, sometimes the new parts will not work at all, because the contact surfaces of the fixture itself are just too worn. In those instances, you just wasted the cost of the parts, and the time (not to mention the cost of the plumber’s time if you hired one), and are going to have to replace it anyway.
Another problem that occurs is that once you replace a faulty part, it is very common for another part to fail very soon afterwards. In essence, if you want to rebuild the faucet “correctly”, you would take it entirely apart, machine the surfaces smooth, and replace the old parts with new parts, specifically designed to fit into the newly machined fixture. Just like rebuilding an engine, but not very cost effective.
Another common occurrence is the “randomly flushing” toilet, or a toilet that will not stop running. This is usually caused by a worn flapper, and a bad fill valve (respectively). So, in those cases, do you replace the entire toilet? If the toilet otherwise flushes fine, then no.
A flapper only has one seating surface that can easily be checked, and if it is okay, you are good to go. Just replace the flapper. The fill valve is also fairly easy to replace in most cases, and a new one will fix your problem, usually without causing new issues. Do not try to save money by “rebuilding” the flush valve. Just replace it.
Another question is, once you have decided how to best tackle your fixture problem, do you try to do it yourself, or do you hire a plumber? On the surface, handy people may want to try to tackle these jobs themselves. While it is definitely doable, one thing you need to remember is that fixtures are connected to water, and the water needs to be shut off.
The valves used to shut the water off have probably not been used in years. That means that not only might they not work properly, but can often times wind up leaking. Sometimes quite a lot. At Gogo Rooter, we too often get calls from people who tried to shut the water off to a faucet or toilet, only to have the valve spring a leak, and they are in a panic because the house main shut off does not work.
This is a chance you take any time you try to do any types of plumbing repairs yourself. If you are confident that you can handle whatever may pop up, or just like to gamble, go ahead and give it a shot. If you would rather the work be done by a qualified professional, backed by a no nonsense warranty, call Gogo Rooter Plumbing.
The estimate is free, so you have nothing to loose.