Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you spy water pooling near the toilet? Don’t put your head in the sand. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking a little bit with each flush, allowing unsanitary 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 faulty wax ring. This part is designed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend calling a plumber for quality toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet look like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out specifically 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 could be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Look closely around the exterior of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a towel. Then, examine it again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. If the tank is cracked, you’ll need to replace your toilet. 

Inspect the Water Hose 

Check the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or faulty shut-off valve may 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you suspected. 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 damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to replace them. 

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 cause after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may notice a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, 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 be a sign of 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 work 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 crack, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement in addition to everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the heavy plumbing fixture is a two-person job. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an hurt 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 arrange. 
  • If you determine the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than replacing the wax ring. 
  • Removing the toilet, making the necessary fix and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You most likely 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, fixing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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, take it easy, and let us take care of it. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your community, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 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.