Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you see water on the floor near 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 unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor. 

A toilet leaking at the base often is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment is designed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s simple to locate the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest calling a plumber for qualified toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

Occasionally, a nearby leak can make the toilet seem like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out exactly where the water is leaking from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor may be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look closely —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

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

Inspect the Water Hose 

Look at the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, defective 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 more likely than not 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 reach the bolt below. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to replace them. 

Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring 

If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t help, a faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, 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 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 doing more damage. 

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring 

If you find that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing 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 qualified 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 large 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 experienced eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange. 
  • If you discover the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than replacing the wax ring. 
  • Removing the toilet, making the required fix and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably have better things to do, giving you yet another reason to leave the job to a plumber. 

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber 

At Norrell Service Experts, fixing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, 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 the problem. To schedule superior toilet repair in your area, 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. 

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