Wondering when you should be replacing certain elements of your home plumbing system? How long are toilets supposed to last, anyway?

A good general rule is to replace anything that is starting to need repairs very often–that usually means it’s more cost-effective to buy a new one instead of continuing to repair the old one. However, it’s also helpful to know the expected lifespan of the various parts of your plumbing system. Here’s a quick guide to take some of the guesswork out of it.

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Depending on what your pipes are made of, their life expectancy could range anywhere from 24-100 years. Make sure that you know what your home plumbing pipes are made of to help you get a reasonable estimate of when you should think about replacing them.

Common Pipe Material & How Long They Last

  • Brass, galvanized steel, and cast iron last 80 to 100 years
  • PVC lasts 24 to 45 years
  • Copper lasts 70 to 80 years

In addition to being aware of how old your pipes are and what they’re made of, pay attention to the condition they’re in. If they are leaking frequently, noticeably rusty, or require repairs over and over again, your pipes are probably nearing the end of their life.

Water Heaters

The lifespan of your water heater depends on the type of model that you have. A conventional hot water tank lasts 8 to 12 years, while a tankless water heater generally lasts about 20 years. This is because tankless models heat water only as needed, while hot water tanks have to function continuously to heat water. 


Toilets are built to be very sturdy and long-lasting, and can stay functional anywhere from 20 to 50 years. Instead of looking for a specific age marker to indicate when to replace your toilet, watch for signs of serious problems, such as cracked porcelain, frequent clogging, or the need for constant repairs. 

Ready to replace any part of your plumbing system? Lone Star Plumbing & Heating does all types of plumbing upgrades, maintenance, and repairs.

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