Do you spy water puddled at the base of the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly with each flush, allowing toilet water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often signifies a bad wax ring. This piece of equipment is designed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend reaching out to a plumber for qualified 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 specifically where the water is leaking 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, wipe up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the outside of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, dry 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 find. If the tank is damaged, 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 resolve the issue, 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 more likely than not 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 remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to access the bolt below. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could break 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 fix the problem, a failing 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 moves from side to side, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the component that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also indicate a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from causing more problems.
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 do the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a certified plumber:
- Porcelain is an unforgiving 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 cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an strained back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a experienced eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through.
- If you determine the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than repairing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the necessary repair 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 task to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Strogen's Service Experts, repairing 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, relax, and let us take care of it. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Strogen's 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.