Do you see water puddled around the toilet? Don’t delay. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly 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 leaking at the base often is a sign of a damaged wax ring. This part is designed 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 easy to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend reaching out to a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet seem like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out exactly where the water is escaping from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. It’s possible, 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 carefully —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the outside of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, check 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
Look at 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 help, 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 thought. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. You may need to take off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt below. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could crack the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to buy 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 failing wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may notice a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, this could mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the component that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also point to 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 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 complete the repair 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 surprisingly delicate material. If you drop 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 strained back.
- Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a trained eye. And if any damage has happened, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate.
- If you detect that the entire flange underneath 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 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, or you want us to handle the whole job 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 dependable toilet repair in your area, 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.