Do you see water pooling at the base of the toilet? Don’t delay. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly with each flush, allowing toilet water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet oozing water at the base often is a sign of a damaged wax ring. This component should form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy 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 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 exactly where the water is escaping from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet could not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping 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 culprit. Turning on 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, clean up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, examine it 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 on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or malfunctioning shut-off valve could cause a leak. If tightening the fittings doesn’t fix the problem, 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 most likely leaking at the base like you originally guessed. Before calling 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 get to the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could damage 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 stop the leaking, a faulty wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the part 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 doing more damage.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you find 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 fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the task to a qualified plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you bang 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 on top of everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the large plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an injured back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a Expert eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate.
- If you determine the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than swapping out the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly 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 Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fortes. 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 take care of it. To schedule superior toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air 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.