Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you spy water on the floor around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking a little bit 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 spraying out water at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This part is supposed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s simple to find the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest hiring a plumber for quality toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet look like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out precisely where the water is coming from. 

Check for Condensation 

The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. Instead, 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 rag and flush the toilet. Look closely —if no more water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Feel 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 find. If the tank is damaged, you’ll need to replace your toilet. 

Inspect the Water Hose 

Look at the cold-water supply line behind the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or faulty 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 prove unhelpful, your toilet is more likely than not 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 remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt underneath. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, as this could damage 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 stop the leaking, a damaged wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may smell a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, 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 requires immediate attention to prevent the problem from doing more damage. 

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring 

If you determine that a failed 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 work 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 surprisingly delicate 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 on top of everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an strained back. 
  • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a trained eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange. 
  • If you determine 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 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, resolving 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 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 area, 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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