A building with 20+ toilets was built in 2004. Florida water is sourced from an aquifer. Bolts pin the toilet tank to the bowl.

Is there any reason not to change:

  • all bolts at year 20?
  • angle stop valves at year 25?

If replacing the bolts, it probably makes sense to replace the fill valve and flush valve?

What is best practice for 'fleet' maintenance?

UPDATE: I had one bolt fail yesterday and was slowly dripping water, so I replaced the pair. This event prompts the question. Would be nice to do maintenance before the failure, so as to reduce the stress. I am trying to understand if the rest of the fleet will experience similar failures soon.

  • 1
    Don't know best practices and this may get closed as "commercial, not DIY". But in my limited experience, I'd say the real issues are the fill valve, flush valve, etc. - i.e., the moving parts that get gunked up with sediment, calcium deposits, etc. and rubber and plastic and metal all get fatigue/crack/etc. Bolts and angle stops? Not nearly as much of an issue. Jan 27, 2023 at 15:31
  • 3
    Would make sense to check the bolts on one toilet to see if any rust is on them, but unless they are abused should not need changing.
    – crip659
    Jan 27, 2023 at 15:32
  • This would depend on the quality of the installation. Shoddy materials, widely used, will fail "soon". Quality valves and hardware, using proper materials and designed to be easily serviced, will last far longer than 20 years. I have worked on plumbing installations that were over a century old, and in perfect working order.
    – kreemoweet
    Jan 27, 2023 at 18:46
  • As @crip659 suggested, periodically (yearly?) looking at one or two fixtures in detail should give you an idea if there is a widespread failure looming. Hot water degrades rubber washers and seals much faster than does cold, so certainly include those in your sample checks.
    – Armand
    Jan 27, 2023 at 19:04
  • 2
    Generally you'd let patterns of failure tell you what to do. When you replace one, happenstance. When you replace two, coincidence. Three times, enemy action. Then you think of a progressive program. Jan 27, 2023 at 22:02

2 Answers 2


Any reason not to change:

  • Unless there are are signs of deterioration, it's an unnecessary waste of time, money, and materiel.

Deterioration would be rusting or leaking depending on the item you're looking at:

  • If it does look like bolts are starting to rust, then by all means, replace the rusty ones. Replace the questionable ones while you're at it if it makes you feel better.

  • If it stop valves are failing to turn or won't completely shut water off despite being turned, then definitely replace them. Replace the questionable ones while you're at it if it makes you feel better.

  • If flush/fill valves are leaking, definitely replace them.

Otherwise, why bother?

"Maintenance" includes inspection and determination of when repairs are necessary, not just replacing broken things. Good maintenance includes not unnecessarily replacing things that still have life in them. You'd be grumpy if you took your car in for a brake job and saw a guy crushing your exhaust pipe then claiming it needed to be replaced - so why do the same thing to yourself?

  • I think you are recommending regular inspection and replacing when failure is imminent? If so, what is the criteria for imminent? Context is added to the original post.
    – gatorback
    Jan 27, 2023 at 17:16
  • I have 3 bullet points defining what I'd suggest is "imminent", @gatorback. That not enough?
    – FreeMan
    Jan 27, 2023 at 17:18
  • 1
    Good enough. Thank you
    – gatorback
    Jan 27, 2023 at 17:19

Depends if they were good old fashioned brass/bronze or cheap newfangled "barely plated steel" - with brass/bronze, you might need to replace the rubber seals, though I think my prime example on that front made it closer to 40 years before they failed.

I could not find just replacement sealing washers easily, so I re-used the original bolts/nuts/ washers and ignored the cheap barely plated steel ones I had to buy to get the replacement sealing washers.

  • Good idea, I think I have access to old brass bolts.
    – gatorback
    Jan 27, 2023 at 17:14

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