Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water puddled around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly with each flush, allowing dirty water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet oozing water at the base often signifies a damaged wax ring. This part should form 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 determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest hiring a plumber for qualified toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
At times, 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.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor may be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the exterior of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, look again, checking 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.
Inspect the Water Hose
Examine the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or worn out 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.
Tighten the Tee Bolts
If these troubleshooting tips prove unhelpful, your toilet is most likely 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 might need to buy new ones.
Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t fix the problem, a faulty wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may detect a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, 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 needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it necessitates removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the work 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 surprisingly delicate material. If you bang the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could crack, 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 Expert eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through.
- If you determine the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than swapping out the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed fix and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You most likely have better things you’d rather be doing, giving you yet another reason to leave the task to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Stevenson Service Experts, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, or you want us to handle the entire problem 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 superior toilet repair in your community, please contact Stevenson 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.