Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you notice water on the floor at the base of the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly 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 leaking at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This component is supposed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to locate the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend reaching out to a plumber for quality toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet appear to be 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 could not be a leak at all. Rather, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. 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 moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a towel. Then, examine it 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 

Check the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or faulty shut-off valve could 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is more likely than not leaking at the base like you suspected. Before reaching out to 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 underneath. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could crack the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may 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 failing wax ring could be the problem 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 wobbles, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the component 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 failed wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the fix 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 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 job. 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 determine the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult 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 repair to a plumber. 

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before reaching out, or you want us to handle everything from start to finish, we’ve got you covered. Every job is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee,* so sit back, don’t worry, and let us take care of it. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your community, please contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 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. 

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