Do you notice water on the floor 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 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 signifies a bad wax ring. This component should make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find the source of the leak and find the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest reaching out to a plumber for qualified toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet appear to be 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 might not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor may 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 closely —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the surface of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, examine it again, checking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you find. If the tank is broken, 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 worn out shut-off valve sometimes can 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 probably leaking at the base like you suspected. Before contacting 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 at the bottom of. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could break 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 help, a damaged wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, this might 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 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 attempt the repair without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the task to a experienced 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 break, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement along with 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 trained 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 discover the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than replacing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the necessary repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly have better ways to spend your time, giving you yet another reason to leave the job to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Finch Air Conditioning & Heating, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, 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 the problem. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your community, please contact Finch Air Conditioning & Heating 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.