Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you notice water on the floor around 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 unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor. 

A toilet leaking at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment should create 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 locate the source of the leak and find the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest calling a plumber for quality toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

At times, 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 coming from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look closely —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Turning on the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Feel around the surface of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, check again, looking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you notice. If the tank is damaged, you’ll need to replace your toilet. 

Inspect the Water Hose 

Examine the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, broken 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you suspected. Before contacting 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 get to the bolt underneath. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to get new ones. 

Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring 

If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t fix the problem, a faulty wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may notice a sewage odor, 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 part that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also point to a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which requires 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, repairing it involves removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to complete the repair 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 drop the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could break, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement in addition to everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the heavy plumbing fixture is a two-person task. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an hurt back. 
  • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a trained eye. And if any damage has happened, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through. 
  • If you determine the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than repairing the wax ring. 
  • Removing the toilet, making the necessary change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly have better ways to spend your time, giving you yet another reason to leave the job to a plumber. 

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, resolving toilet leaks is one of our specialties. 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, relax, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your neighborhood, 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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