The national average cost to repair a toilet is $159. A toilet might need repairs for a number of reasons — most notably, a harmful leak. Or, maybe your toilet is clogged or constantly running, creating a never-ending inconvenience. Regardless of what toilet problem is troubling you, you'll want to fix it quick and get your bathroom back in full, working order.
While you can do some toilet repairs yourself, a professional plumber will know the best way to fix your broken toilet quickly, and without causing further problems to your toilet, pipes or bathroom. If a plunger isn't cutting it, get an idea of how much you'll have to spend on plumber costs before you hire a handyman or plumber to fix your clogged or leaky toilet.
What's in this cost guide?
- Toilet repair cost factors
- Cost to replace a toilet
- Cost saving tips
- Tips to hire a plumber
The toilet repair costs depend on a few factors — most notably, what exactly is wrong with your toilet, like a broken flapper, a leaking base or a weak flush. This will impact both the plumber's project costs, and the cost of any parts, like a wax ring or a flange, you need to pay to replace.
For standard, run-of-the-mill jobs, like fixing a clogged toilet, many plumbers will charge a flat rate.
Sometimes, this flat rate comes in two forms: a diagnostic fee and a service fee. Other plumbers might offer a free estimate and charge only for the service fee. For instance, Expert Plumbing, Heating and Air of Pleasant Grove, Utah, charges a $29 diagnostic fee in addition to the service fee for their plumbing services.
Other plumbing services charge an hourly rate for their services. Luckily, simple toilet repairs typically only take an hour of two to repair. For example, Waterworx Plumbing of Denver charges a $92 trip fee for a diagnostic visit plus another $92 per hour to complete repairs. He says most jobs require less than an hour of work.
You may also need to pay for parts needed for toilet repairs. However, many toilet parts are relatively inexpensive — all of these parts, except for the toilet seat, cost between $5 and $20. A basic toilet seat will cost around $40-$50. Not up on your plumbing lingo? Here are some of the things you might need to replace in your toilet:
- Toilet flange. You may need to replace your flange if your toilet is leaking at the base. A flange is located below the base of your toilet, between it and the floor. Replacing the flange requires your pro to turn off the water supply, remove the toilet and old flange, then install the new toilet flange and put the toilet back in place.
- Flapper. The little rubber flapper inside your toilet tank wears out over time. When your flapper is broken or warn out, it might prevent your toilet tank from draining properly, and cause your toilet to run for hours after you flush. A rubber flapper valve is a device at the bottom of the toilet tank that lifts to let water out of the tank. Waiting to fix this pesky problem can drive up your water bill, so it's best to replace your flapper as soon as you notice.
- Wax ring. A wax ring, which sits between the toilet base and the toilet anchor flange, prevents water from seeping out from the base of your toilet, where it attaches to the floor. If you've noticed a leak from the base, you may need to replace the wax ring. This will allow your toilet to drain properly into the pipes that carry waste water out to the sewers.
- Fill valve. The fill valve is the part responsible for refilling your tank after you flush. If your toilet fills up slowly between flushes, you may need to replace this valve.
- Overflow tube. As the name suggests, an overflow tube -- which is connected to the flush valve -- keeps the tank from overflowing with too much water. If you're having problems with toilet overflow, you may need to buy a replacement tube.
- Toilet seat. If your toilet seat broke and you need to replace it, this is a pretty easy fix. If you don't want or know how to DIY a toilet seat replacement, a professional can help.
- Toilet handle. Got a little too vigorous with your flushing and broke a handle? Don't worry, replacing a handle, also known as a toilet trip lever, will usually cost under $20. Some high-end toilet trip levers will be around $50-$100.
A simple fix to unclog a toilet may not cost a lot of money -- project costs for a simple toilet repair run about $100 to $250 -- but complicated clogs can increase plumbing costs dramatically. To unclog a serious blockage, your plumber may need to take apart the toilet and snake the main drain. Your plumber may even need to replace a toilet drain pipe.
If your leak has soaked the drywall in your bathroom, you may also need to tear out the wall and replace it. In rare circumstances, if a plumber finds your sewer line clogged with tree roots, a simple repair can transform into an expensive plumbing problem. The cost to remove a serious blockage from your pipes can be as high as $400.
Replacing wax rings or installing a new flange may be more expensive, too, because the plumber has to remove the toilet entirely to access the old flange or wax ring. The plumber then needs to reseat and reseal the wax ring, flange, and toilet.
Toilet replacement doesn't have to be terribly expensive, so don't panic if your plumber says you might need a new toilet. Typically, installing a new toilet costs between $70 and $190, and the actual toilet costs anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on the features you want.
If your toilet is leaking beyond repair, it may be more cost effective to get a new toilet. You can also buy a toilet on your own and have the plumber install it.
While most plumbing services won't break the bank, there are a few ways you can save money when you hire a plumber or handyman to repair your toilet:
Sometimes, you don't have a choice: If you live in a one-bath home and your toilet breaks, you can't necessarily wait a few days for a plumber to come fix the appliance.
But if you can wait, you can save serious money. Emergency plumbing repairs may require a plumber to drop what they're doing — and they may charge you more for the inconvenience. Weekend service can cost more, too. While the average national rate for plumbers is $45 to $150 per hour, weekend and emergency plumbing can as much as double the rate of a plumber's usual fee.
You might be eligible for special discounts on plumbing costs. Make sure to ask your local plumber. For example, Minneapolis's Cutting Edge Sewer and Drain offers police, fire, and military discounts. Or, if you need multiple services — like if two toilets are misbehaving — you may be eligible for a reduced rate.
Also consider doing simple repairs yourself. For a clogged toilet, consider renting a toilet augur or snake from your local home improvement store. (In most situations, you'll want to avoid Drano or other liquid plumbers, which can damage your drains and pipes). Renting a toilet augur or plumbing snake will cost about $15 for a day, making this a cheap repair for do-it-yourselfers.
Many toilet manufacturers offer warranties at purchase — though you have to register to receive it. Check your warranty to see what it covers, but many will cover the cost of parts and, if needed, the cost of a new, replacement toilet.
For larger problems, like those with your pipes, your home insurance may also be able to help cover costs.
Before you hire a pro to fix your toilet, consider the following tips:
- Look for a licensed professional: Not all cities require plumbers to hold a license. However, homeowners should hire licensed plumbers whenever possible. Licensing often requires passing an exam that proves plumbing expertise.
- Read reviews: Reviews will give you a sense of the plumber's quality of work and other toilet repair projects they've done in the past.