Do you see water puddled around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly with each flush, allowing unsanitary 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 damaged wax ring. This component should form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may escape 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 suggest reaching out to a plumber for qualified toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
At times, a nearby leak can make the toilet seem 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. Instead, water vapor could 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 closely —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the outside of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, look again, checking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you find. If the tank is cracked, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Examine the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or faulty 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 calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that attach 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 below. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could crack the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to get 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 faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, this could mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the part that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also indicate a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which demands immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you find that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it requires 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 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 break, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the heavy plumbing fixture is a two-person job. 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 been done, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you determine the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than swapping out the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably have better things you’d rather be doing, giving you yet another reason to leave the task to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Church Services, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. 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, don’t worry, and let us complete the repair. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Church Services 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.