Do you notice water pooling around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly 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 is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment is designed to make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to locate the source of the leak and find the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend calling a plumber for quality toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet appear to be leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out specifically where the water is coming from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet could not be a leak at all. Rather, 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 closely —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the exterior of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, look again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. If the tank is cracked, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Check the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or faulty shut-off valve sometimes can 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 solve the problem, 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 take off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to reach the bolt underneath. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to replace them.
Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t help, a failing wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the piece of equipment that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also indicate a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which requires immediate attention to prevent the problem from causing more problems.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover that a broken wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it involves removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to do the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a certified plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you whack the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could break, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the large plumbing fixture is a two-person task. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an strained back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a experienced eye. And if any damage has happened, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you determine the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than replacing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the required change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably 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 Fras-Air/General Service Experts, resolving toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, or you want us to handle the whole job from start to finish, we’ve got you covered. Every job is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee,* so sit back, don’t worry, and let us take care of it. To schedule superior toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Fras-Air/General 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.