Do you see water puddled around 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 expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often is a sign of a bad wax ring. This part is supposed to make 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 test the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend hiring a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
At times, 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 leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet could not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the exterior of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, dry 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 damaged, 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, damaged hose or faulty 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 solve the problem, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you thought. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that secure 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 tighten it too much, as this could crack 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 faulty wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, 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 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 requires immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it involves 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 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 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 chore. 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 fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you detect that the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than repairing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably 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 Strand Brothers Service Experts, resolving toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, or you want us to handle the entire problem 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 superior toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Strand Brothers 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.