Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

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

A toilet oozing water at the base often is a sign of a damaged wax ring. This piece of equipment is designed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to find the source of the leak and find the problem. If you conclude the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise reaching out to 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 may not be a leak at all. It’s possible, water vapor could be condensing on the bowl or tank and running down onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely culprit. Using the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.

Examine the Toilet Tank

Feel around the surface of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, wipe up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, examine it again, searching 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

Examine the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or malfunctioning 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 solve the problem, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you suspected. Before calling 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 reach the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this could break the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you might 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 faulty wax ring could be the cause after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may detect a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, 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 needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring

If you determine that a broken wax ring is indeed the problem, repairing it necessitates removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to do the work without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a experienced plumber:

    • Porcelain is an unforgiving 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 on top of everything else.
    • Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person job. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an injured back.
    • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a Expert eye. And if any damage has been done, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help arrange.
    • If you discover the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more challenging than replacing the wax ring.
    • Removing the toilet, making the necessary change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You probably have better things to do, giving you yet another reason to leave the task to a plumber.

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber

At Winnipeg Supply Service Experts, repairing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. 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, take it easy, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule superior toilet repair in your area, please contact Winnipeg Supply 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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