Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you notice water puddled at the base of the toilet? Don’t delay. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly 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 points to a damaged wax ring. This part should create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to find the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise calling a plumber for professional 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 specifically where the water is leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the outside of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, examine it again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you notice. If the tank is damaged, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Look at the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, damaged 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 solve the problem, your toilet is most likely 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 pry off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to reach the bolt below. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could damage 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 help, a faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage stink, 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 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 demands immediate attention to prevent the problem from doing more damage.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you determine that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it necessitates 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 issue 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 crack, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement on top of everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the heavy 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 been done, 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 more challenging 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 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, 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, take it easy, and let us take care of it. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your area, please contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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.