Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water on the floor at the base of 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 unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet oozing water at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment is designed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s simple to test the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise reaching out to 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 could not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor may be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look closely —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the surface of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, look again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you find. If the tank is damaged, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Look at the cold-water supply line behind 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is most likely 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 remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt below. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could crack 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 stop the leaking, a faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, 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 component 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 discover 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 do the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a qualified plumber:
- Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you whack 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 heavy 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 experienced eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
- If you determine the entire flange at the bottom of 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 needed 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 job to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Neal Harris Service Experts, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, 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, take it easy, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Neal Harris 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.