Do you notice water pooling near 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 expensive 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 create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, 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 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 appear to be leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out precisely where the water is coming from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. Rather, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, check again, looking 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
Examine the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or worn out shut-off valve sometimes can 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 help, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you suspected. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. You may need to remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt underneath. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, 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 damaged wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the part 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 needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you find that a broken wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it involves removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to complete the repair 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 surprisingly delicate material. If you drop 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 in addition to everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the heavy plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. 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 guide you through.
- If you determine the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than repairing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You most likely have better things to do, giving you yet another reason to leave the job to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Levy & Son Service Experts, resolving toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you follow 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 complete the repair. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your area, please contact Levy & Son 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.