A toilet problem can be very easy to fix, or very difficult. In fact, it can be the most difficult problem a serviceman might encounter. We all know how to use a plunger, but sometimes the problem is worse than that.

A toilet usually can be fixed and doesn’t need to be replaced. Sometimes, though, it is cheaper to just replace the toilet. A decent one costs about $100 at Lowe’s. The labor to install it usually runs $100, plus $10 if you don’t already have it at your home for me to install.

Modern toilets are “water savers.” Instead of, say, 3.5 gallons per flush, they use 1.6 gallons. When federal law began requiring this, we professionals thought that it should have been called “The Plumbers Job Security Act of 1995.” Those first ones were terrible! They just didn’t flush. Talk about money in the bank! That’s what it was for us. For the hapless consumer, it was money down the toilet.

I’m happy to report that great improvements have been made. I have installed many modern toilets made by Kohler, and in no case have I had a customer who was dissatisfied with its performance.

I cannot speak so highly of all brands, though. Toilets that sell for less than $100 (that includes the bowl and the tank) are usually made in Central America and are pretty poor. If you’re going to buy a toilet, I recommend that you stay far, far away from the cheap ones. There may be many decent brands, but I know from experience that a Kohler purchase is safe.

Remember: in this game, a flush beats a full house!