Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water on the floor at the base of the toilet? Don’t put your head in the sand. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly 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 leaking at the base often is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This part is designed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to locate the source of the leak and find the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise reaching out to a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet look 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 might not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the outside of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a paper towel. 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 on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or worn out 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 don’t solve the problem, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you suspected. Before calling 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 reach the bolt underneath. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to buy 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 problem after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, 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 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 doing more damage.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you determine that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a qualified plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you whack 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 along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person task. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an injured 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 arrange.
- If you determine the entire flange at the bottom of 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 required change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably have better things to do, 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 follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, 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 dependable toilet repair in your community, 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.