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Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you see water pooling at the base of the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. 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 unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor. 

A toilet leaking at the base often is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This part is designed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to test the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise hiring a plumber for qualified 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 precisely where the water is escaping from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet could not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor may be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Feel around the surface of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, examine it again, searching 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 

Look at the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or faulty shut-off valve may 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 don’t solve the problem, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you originally guessed. Before reaching out to 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 access the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, 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 faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, 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 requires immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse. 

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring 

If you determine that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it requires 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 drop 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 on top of everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the large plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an hurt back. 
  • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a experienced eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange. 
  • If you discover the entire flange at the bottom of 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 needed 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 job to a plumber. 

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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 take care of the problem. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your neighborhood, 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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