Do you see water on the floor around the toilet? Don’t put your head in the sand. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking a little bit with each flush, allowing toilet water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet oozing water at the base often is a sign of a bad wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to make 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 locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest hiring a plumber for quality toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Sometimes, 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 may not be a leak at all. Rather, 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 paper towel and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if no more 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 outside of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, look again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. 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 faulty shut-off valve may 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is more likely than not leaking at the base like you suspected. Before contacting 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 reach the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could break 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 damaged wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, 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 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 failed wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it involves removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a experienced plumber:
- Porcelain is an unforgiving material. If you drop 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 in addition to everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome 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 been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you detect that the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than replacing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed change 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 repair to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At McElroy Service Experts, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you complete 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, relax, and let us take care of it. To schedule superior toilet repair in your area, please contact McElroy 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.