Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water pooling near the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking a little bit with each flush, allowing unsanitary 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 signifies a faulty wax ring. This part should 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 easy to find the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend hiring a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet look like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out exactly 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, soak up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look closely —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the exterior of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, examine it 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
Examine the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or worn out shut-off valve sometimes can 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 most likely leaking at the base like you originally guessed. Before reaching out to 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 access the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could crack 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 culprit after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may notice a sewage stink, 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 discover that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to do the repair without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a certified 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 along with everything else.
- Lifting and lowering the large 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 guide you through.
- If you discover the entire flange below 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 required fix 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 Norrell Service Experts, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow 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, relax, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your community, please contact Norrell 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.