Do you notice water on the floor at the base of the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking a little bit with each flush, allowing unsanitary water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often points to a bad wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend reaching out to a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet seem like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out specifically where the water is leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet could not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look closely —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the surface of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a towel. Then, look again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you find. If the tank is broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Look at the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or worn out shut-off valve could cause a leak. If tightening the fittings doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need a plumber to replace the water supply hose.
Tighten the Tee Bolts
If these troubleshooting tips don’t help, your toilet is more likely than not leaking at the base like you originally guessed. Before reaching out to a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. You may need to remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to access the bolt underneath. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to get new ones.
Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t stop the leaking, a failing wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, this might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the component that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also be a sign of a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which requires immediate attention to prevent the problem from doing more damage.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you determine that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it necessitates removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a qualified plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you bang the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could chip, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person job. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an hurt back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a trained eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate.
- If you determine the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than replacing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed fix and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly have better things you’d rather be doing, giving you yet another reason to leave the repair to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Calverley Service Experts, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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, take it easy, and let us complete the repair. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Calverley Service Experts today!
*Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.