Do you notice water puddled near 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 unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often is a sign of a bad wax ring. This component is supposed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to test the source of the leak and find the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend calling a plumber for quality toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet look like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out exactly where the water is coming from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor might 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 closely —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the surface of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a towel. 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 broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Examine the cold-water supply line on the backside of 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 probably leaking at the base like you thought. Before contacting 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 get to 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 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 stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, this could 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 be a sign of a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which demands immediate attention to prevent the problem from causing more problems.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it requires 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 experienced plumber:
- Porcelain is a surprisingly delicate material. If you drop 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 on top of everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person task. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an hurt back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a experienced eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you detect that the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than swapping out 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 ways to spend your time, giving you yet another reason to leave the task to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow 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, take it easy, and let us take care of it. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your area, please contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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.