Do you see water pooling around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly with each flush, allowing unsanitary water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often signifies a bad wax ring. This component is supposed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to test the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend hiring a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet appear to be leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out precisely where the water is coming from.
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Feel around the outside of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, check again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you find. If the tank is cracked, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Look at the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or faulty shut-off valve could cause a leak. If tightening the fittings doesn’t help, you may need a plumber to replace the water supply hose.
If these troubleshooting tips prove unhelpful, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you thought. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that attach the toilet to the floor. You may need to pry off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to reach the bolt underneath. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could crack the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to replace them.
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t help, a faulty wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this could mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the component that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also indicate a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which demands immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you determine that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to complete the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a qualified plumber:
At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, fixing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, or you want us to handle everything from start to finish, we’ve got you covered. Every job is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee,* so sit back, relax, and let us take care of it. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your area, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today!
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