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 a little bit with each flush, allowing unsanitary water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor.
A toilet oozing water at the base often is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This component should make 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 troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest reaching out to a plumber for professional 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 precisely where the water is coming from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. Rather, water vapor may be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Look closely around the outside of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a towel. Then, examine it again, searching for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. If the tank is broken, 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, 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 don’t solve the problem, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you suspected. Before calling 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 tighten it too much, as this could damage 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 help, a damaged wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, 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 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 complete the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a experienced plumber:
- Porcelain is an unforgiving 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 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 happened, it should be fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate.
- If you detect that the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than repairing the wax ring.
- Removing the toilet, making the needed repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably have better things you’d rather be doing, giving you yet another reason to leave the task to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Knochelmann Service Experts, repairing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you complete 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, take it easy, and let us take care of it. To schedule dependable toilet repair in your area, please contact Knochelmann 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.