Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you notice water on the floor at the base of the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly with each flush, allowing dirty water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor. 

A toilet spraying out water at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This component should create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to test 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 quality 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 precisely where the water is escaping from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet may 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 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 fix. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Run your hands around the surface of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, look again, checking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you notice. If the tank is cracked, you’ll need to replace your toilet. 

Inspect the Water Hose 

Check the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or worn out 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 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 remove 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 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 stop the leaking, a faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may notice a sewage smell, 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 be a sign of a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs 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, resolving it necessitates removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to do the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a experienced plumber: 

  • Porcelain is a surprisingly delicate 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 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 Expert eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate. 
  • If you discover the entire flange underneath 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 change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly have better things you’d rather be doing, 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 & Plumbing, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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, relax, and let us complete the repair. To schedule superior toilet repair in your community, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 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. 

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