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 a little bit with each flush, allowing dirty water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor. 

A toilet oozing water at the base often is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s simple to test the source of the leak and find the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend calling a plumber for qualified 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 specifically where the water is escaping from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. Rather, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look closely —if there are no new 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 

Look closely around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, check again, checking 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 

Look at the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or malfunctioning 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 don’t solve the problem, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you thought. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. You may need to take off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to access the bolt underneath. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could break 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 failing wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may detect a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, this might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the piece of equipment that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also point to a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which demands immediate attention to prevent the problem from causing more problems. 

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring 

If you discover that a broken wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it involves removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to complete the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the task to a experienced plumber: 

  • Porcelain is an unforgiving material. If you bang the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could crack, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement in addition to everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person task. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an injured back. 
  • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a Expert 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 detect that the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than repairing the wax ring. 
  • Removing the toilet, making the required repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably 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, fixing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, or you want us to handle the entire problem 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 reliable 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. 

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >
Offer

$50 OFF ANY REPAIR

  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!
print
Offer

FREE PLUMBING INSPECTION

  • Prevent costly damage from water leaks, drain clogs and tank damage
  • Written 100% Expert Service Guarantee
print

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *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.

Chat with a Service Experts Professional