Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?
Do you see water puddled around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly 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 damaged wax ring. This part is supposed to make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s simple to test the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we recommend reaching out to a plumber for professional toilet repair.
Test Your Leaky Toilet
Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet seem like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out specifically where the water is leaking from.
Check for Condensation
The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. Rather, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a paper towel and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy fix.
Examine the Toilet Tank
Run your hands around the surface of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a towel. 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 broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet.
Inspect the Water Hose
Check the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or malfunctioning shut-off valve could 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 more likely than not leaking at the base like you thought. Before contacting 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 reach 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 puddling around the toilet, you may notice 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 component 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 causing more problems.
Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring
If you discover that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue 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 break, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement in addition to 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 trained eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate.
- If you discover 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 needed fix 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 repair to a plumber.
Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber
At Donelson Air Service Experts, 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 community, please contact Donelson Air 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.