Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

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

A toilet leaking at the base often signifies a faulty wax ring. This component is designed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to test the source of the leak and find the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise calling a plumber for quality toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

At times, 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 leaking from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet could not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and puddling onto the floor. To check for this, clean up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look closely —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Run your hands around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. 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 find. If the tank is broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet. 

Inspect the Water Hose 

Examine the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or worn out shut-off valve may 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 don’t help, your toilet is most likely leaking at the base like you thought. Before contacting a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. You may need to pry off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to access the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could crack the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to replace them. 

Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring 

If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t stop the leaking, a damaged wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may notice a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, 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 be a sign of a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs 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, resolving it necessitates 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 a sometimes brittle material. If you whack the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could chip, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement along with 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 fixed/repaired before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through. 
  • If you discover the entire flange below 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, resolving toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you go through the troubleshooting tips outlined above before calling, 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, don’t worry, and let us take care of it. To schedule superior 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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