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Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you see water puddled near the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slightly with each flush, allowing unsanitary water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing expensive mold damage and rot in the subfloor. 

A toilet spraying out water at the base often is a sign of a bad wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to make a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to locate the source of the leak and find the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest hiring 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 coming 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, wipe 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 

Look closely around the surface of the tank for any moisture. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a towel. Then, check again, searching for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. 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 faulty shut-off valve sometimes can cause a leak. If tightening the fittings doesn’t resolve the issue, 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 take off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could crack the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you could need to buy 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 culprit after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage smell, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, 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 be a sign of 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 faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it necessitates 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 task to a certified plumber: 

  • Porcelain is an unforgiving 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 on top of everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the heavy 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 experienced eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through. 
  • If you detect that the entire flange underneath 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 fix 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 repair to a plumber. 

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you go through 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 it. 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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