Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you spy water puddled around the toilet? Don’t delay. 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 signifies a damaged wax ring. This piece of equipment 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 simple to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise hiring a plumber for qualified toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Occasionally, 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 escaping 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 puddling onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a 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 solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the outside of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a towel. Then, check again, searching 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
Check the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or malfunctioning 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you originally guessed. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that hold 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 break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to replace them.
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 cause after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may notice a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this may 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 demands immediate attention to prevent the problem from doing more damage.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you find that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it involves 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 issue to a qualified 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 chip, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person task. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an injured back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a trained eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you determine the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than repairing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the necessary change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You most likely 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, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, 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, relax, and let us complete the repair. To schedule superior toilet repair in your neighborhood, 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.