Timeline: When to Replace Common Plumbing Fixtures

Even when you keep up with maintenance and repairs for your home’s plumbing fixtures, they will wear out eventually. After all, nothing lasts forever, and that applies to plumbing fixtures too! Plumbing fixtures include any piece of equipment that attaches to a plumbing system with the purpose of delivering or draining water.

These include:

  • Faucets and sinks
  • Toilets
  • Showers and showerheads
  • Bathtubs
  • Bidets

Each one has a different lifespan, so it’s helpful to know when it’s time to replace each fixture. This way, you can reduce the chance of them breaking down when you least expect it.

Average Plumbing Lifespans

The lifespan of each plumbing fixture will depend on a couple of factors:

  • Wear and tear on the fixtures themselves: If you use force when operating handles or you use fixtures very often on a daily basis, they will wear out faster. This is why your guest bathroom’s fixtures last a lot longer than your kids’ bathroom fixtures.
  • The quality of water: If you have well water or hard water, this can damage fixtures more quickly, particularly when it comes to faucets and showerheads.
  • The quality of the fixtures you installed in the first place: Cheap fixtures will wear out faster than high-quality ones.

Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals will give you about 10 years of service. Just take care not to put big food chunks down the drain that could wear down the unit and cause clogs. It may be time to replace your disposal if:

  • You smell a lingering odor
  • It takes a lot time for food to break down
  • You have to frequently reset the unit


The whole commode, including the bowl, doesn’t need to be replaced unless it has cracked. The toilet as a whole has a long lifespan, but certain components may wear out faster, such as the toilet handle. You may have to replace it if it doesn’t work when you jiggle it.

Flappers, traps, fill valves and fittings should last up to five years, but excessive wear and tear will hasten this process. Wax seals can last you 20 years, but be on the lookout for cracks.

Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters last between 10 and 15 years. Once they approach the end of life, they will start to leak. Replace the water heater if you notice the following:

  • The pilot light flickers constantly.
  • The burners or heating elements aren’t working.
  • The circuit breaker trips constantly.
  • The valve sticks.
  • You see leaks or rust around the heater.

Tankless water heaters last longer because there’s no risk of leaks or rust. You should be able to get at least 20 years out of your unit.


Usually, faucets are replaced because the owner wants an upgrade in style or functionality, rather than because they’re broken.

Contact L&P Plumbing LLC

If one of your plumbing fixtures is on the fritz and you need help, contact us at 512-768-6973 for a free quote today.