Do you see water pooling around 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 expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often is a sign of a damaged wax ring. This component is designed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may leak 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 advise hiring a plumber for quality 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 precisely where the water is leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look closely —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a towel. Then, look 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
Check the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or worn out shut-off valve sometimes can 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you thought. 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 get to the bolt underneath. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you might 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 failing wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the part 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 discover that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it involves 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 issue to a experienced 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 crack, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement in addition to everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the large plumbing fixture is a two-person job. 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 addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you detect that the entire flange below 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 required 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 task to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Broad Ripple Service Experts, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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, don’t worry, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule superior toilet repair in your area, please contact Broad Ripple 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.