Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water on the floor 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 potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet leaking at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This component should make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find the source of the leak and find the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest calling a plumber for quality 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 exactly where the water is leaking 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 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 additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Feel around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a towel. Then, look again, checking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you notice. If the tank is cracked, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Examine the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, defective 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 more likely than not leaking at the base like you suspected. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that attach the toilet to the floor. You may need to remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to access the bolt below. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you might 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 culprit after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may notice a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, 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 find that a broken wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it involves 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 task to a qualified plumber:
- Porcelain is a surprisingly delicate 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 in addition to everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the large plumbing fixture is a two-person task. 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 addressed 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 harder than swapping out the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the necessary fix 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 repair to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Stark Services, fixing 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, relax, and let us take care of it. To schedule superior toilet repair in your area, please contact Stark Services 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.