Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you see water puddled around the toilet? Don’t put your head in the sand. 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 leaking at the base often points to a damaged wax ring. This component is supposed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may escape every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise hiring a plumber for qualified toilet repair

Test Your Leaky Toilet 

At times, a nearby leak can make the toilet appear to be leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out precisely where the water is leaking from. 

Check for Condensation 

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

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Look closely around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, look 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 behind the toilet. A loose connection, damaged hose or worn out shut-off valve could cause a leak. If tightening the fittings doesn’t fix the problem, 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 secure 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 at the bottom of. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, 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 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 odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet moves from side to side, this may 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 indicate a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from causing more problems. 

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring 

If you find that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it necessitates removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the repair without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the job to a experienced plumber: 

  • Porcelain is a surprisingly delicate 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 in addition to everything else. 
  • Lifting and lowering the large 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 experienced eye. And if any damage has happened, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange. 
  • If you determine the entire flange underneath the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than swapping out the wax ring. 
  • Removing the toilet, making the necessary fix and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You doubtlessly 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 Stevenson Service Experts, repairing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you follow 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, relax, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Stevenson 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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