Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water on the floor near the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly with each flush, allowing toilet water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet oozing water at the base often signifies a damaged wax ring. This part is supposed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s simple to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest hiring a plumber for qualified 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 exactly where the water is coming from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. Rather, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping onto the floor. To check for this, clean 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. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the exterior of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, wipe 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 on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or worn out 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is most likely 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 pry 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 may need to replace them.
Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t fix the problem, a faulty wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, 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 requires 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, fixing it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to complete the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a experienced plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle 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 along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the large 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 experienced eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through.
- If you determine the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than repairing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the required fix and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, repairing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you go through 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, relax, and let us take care of it. To schedule reliable 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.