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 slightly with each flush, allowing unsanitary water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet spraying out water at the base often points to a damaged wax ring. This component should make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to test the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend 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 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 dripping onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the outside of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, look again, searching for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you find. If the tank is broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Check the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or faulty shut-off valve could 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 more likely than not leaking at the base like you originally guessed. Before reaching out to 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 access the bolt below. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to replace them.
Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring
If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t stop the leaking, a faulty wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, 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 indicate a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from causing more problems.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover that a failed 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 work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the task to a experienced 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 chip, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement on top of everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the cumbersome 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 trained 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 at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than swapping out the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the required repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly have better things to do, 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, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, 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, take it easy, and let us complete the repair. 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.