Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you see water puddled around the toilet? Don’t delay. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly 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 oozing water at the base often points to a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, 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 advise calling a plumber for professional toilet repair.

Test Your Leaky Toilet

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

Check for Condensation

The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor could 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 cause. Using 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 moisture. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, examine it again, looking 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

Check the cold-water supply line located on the back of the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or worn out shut-off valve sometimes can 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 reaching out to 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 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 problem after all. Besides water puddling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the part 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 causing more problems.

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring

If you find that a faulty wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it requires removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to complete the fix without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the task to a experienced plumber:

    • Porcelain is a sometimes brittle material. If you drop 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 injured back.
    • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a trained eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be fixed/repaired 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 challenging than swapping out the wax ring.
    • Removing the toilet, making the required 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 Mid-State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, fixing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, or you want us to handle the whole job 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 complete the repair. To schedule superior toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Mid-State Air Conditioning, Heating & 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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