Timeline: When to Replace Common Plumbing Fixtures

Even the most rigorous dedication to regular maintenance and repair of plumbing fixtures will eventually lead to the need for replacement. After all, nothing lasts forever and those fixtures will wear out over time. Plumbing fixtures involve any piece of equipment that can attach to a plumbing system to deliver or drain water.

They include, among others:

  • Faucets and sinks
  • Garbage disposals
  • Toilets
  • Showers and showerheads
  • Bathtubs
  • Bidets
  • Water heaters

From faucets and sinks to toilets and tubs, each fixture has a different lifespan. It’s important to understand those lifespans so you know when to replace each fixture, thus reducing the chance of break-down at a time when you least expect it. If you do need replacement, it’s wise to hire a reputable plumber in San Antonio.

Common Plumbing Lifespans

Plumbing lifespans will depend on a few factors:

  • Wear and tear: Using force when using fixtures often or operating handles wears them out faster. Ever wonder why your guest bathroom’s fixtures last much longer than your master bedroom fixtures? That’s why.
  • Water quality: Homes with well water or hard water will face premature damage to fixtures, especially in terms of faucets and showerheads.
  • Fixture quality: As with anything else in life, cheap fixtures wear down faster than high-quality ones.

Now let’s take a look at a few different types of fixtures and how long they last.

Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals provide, on average, about 10 years of service – provided you care for them well. That means you shouldn’t be throwing large chunks of food down the drain that could lead to clogs or premature wear of the unit. You may have to replace your disposal if:

  • There is a lingering foul odor
  • Food takes a long time to break down when the unit is on
  • The unit must be frequently reset


Unless it has cracked, the commode, including the bowl, does not need to be replaced very often. Toilets have long lifespans, but there are certain components that could wear out faster than others, like the handle. Doesn’t work when you jiggle it? Replace it.

Flappers, fill valves, traps, and fittings can last five years, but this process will speed up in the presence of excessive wear and tear. Wax seals will last 20 years, but inspect them often for cracks.

Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters can last between 10 and 15 years, but they will start to leak rapidly once they approach the end of their life. Replace the water heater if you spot these signs:

  • Pilot light flickers constantly.
  • Circuit breaker trips constantly.
  • Heating elements or burners aren’t working.
  • Sticky valve.
  • Leaks or rust around the heater.

Tankless water heaters may be a better choice, as they last longer (about 20 years), and take up less space.


Homeowners typically replace faucets when upgrading their bathroom or kitchen because they want increased functionality or convenience. Most faucets will last between 15 and 20 years, depending on water quality and the amount of wear and tear.

You should replace your faucets if:

  • They leak constantly and any repairs you make don’t last long.
  • The cost of repairs would be more than one-third the replacement cost.
  • They are leaking from the handle or the base, rather than solely from the spout.
  • They are rusted and corroded.
  • You’re tackling a remodel and want to upgrade your fixtures to match.


Sinks are typically long-lasting fixtures, with stainless steel lasting 15 to 30 years, porcelain lasting 20 to 30 years, and acrylic lasting 50 years.

You should replace your kitchen or bathroom sink if:

  • It leaks.
  • You’re looking to do an upgrade.

Don’t ignore your plumbing fixtures, as they will break down when you need them most. Yes, they are hardworking units, but they get a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis.


Bathtub replacement can be quite a complex job due to how hard it is to maneuver a bulky tub in a confined space. Also, the tile surround should at least be partially replaced as needed to ensure a seamless look.

You should replace your bathtub when:

  • It leaks.
  • The surface is near impossible to keep clean.
  • You’re remodeling your bathroom (consider a tub to shower conversion in this case).

What Should You Do With Your Old Plumbing Fixtures?

It’s important to responsibly dispose of your unwanted plumbing fixtures. If they are still in good shape, such as when you’re just replacing them due to a remodel, you can donate them to a local charity. If they are no longer functional, recycle them or sell them for scrap metal.

Get a Free Quote From Plumb Star Plumbing

Plumb Star Plumbing can help replace any of the above common plumbing fixtures and more. Serving all of Fair Oaks Ranch with quality plumbing services, we welcome you to contact us for a free quote at (830) 981-8702.