Do you notice water puddled near the toilet? Don’t delay. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly 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 leaking at the base often is a sign of a bad wax ring. This component is supposed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend hiring a plumber for professional 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 precisely where the water is leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look closely —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem.
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 paper towel. Then, examine it again, searching for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. If the tank is damaged, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Look at the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or worn out 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 don’t solve the problem, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you suspected. Before contacting 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 below. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to buy new ones.
Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t fix the problem, a damaged wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may notice a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, this might 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 point to 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 broken wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing 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 job to a qualified plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you drop the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could break, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement on top of everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome 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 experienced eye. And if any damage has happened, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate.
- If you discover the entire flange at the bottom of 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 needed change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly 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, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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 complete the repair. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your community, 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.