Do you notice water on the floor near the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly 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 is a sign of a bad wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to 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 easy to find the source of the leak and find the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise reaching out to a plumber for qualified toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
At times, a nearby leak can make the toilet seem like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out exactly where the water is leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet might 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 towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the surface of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, check again, checking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you notice. If the tank is damaged, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Look at the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or faulty shut-off valve sometimes can 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 don’t help, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you suspected. Before reaching out to a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. You may need to take off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to access the bolt below. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may 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 damaged wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage odor, 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 part that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also point to a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from doing more damage.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover 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 repair without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the task to a experienced plumber:
- Porcelain is an unforgiving material. If you whack 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 in addition to 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 been done, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through.
- If you discover the entire flange at the bottom of 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 required repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly have better things to do, giving you yet another reason to leave the job to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Stevenson Service Experts, fixing 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 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 complete the repair. To schedule reliable 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.