Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you notice water pooling near the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly with each flush, allowing dirty water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing potentially dangerous mold damage and rot in the subfloor.

A toilet spraying out water at the base often is a sign of a damaged wax ring. This component is designed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it quits working, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to locate the source of the leak and find the problem. If you determine the wax ring needs to be replaced, we suggest reaching out to a plumber for quality toilet repair.

Test Your Leaky Toilet

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

Check for Condensation

The “leak” around your toilet may not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor may 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 carefully —if no additional water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.

Examine the Toilet Tank

Look closely around the surface of the tank for any dampness. To rule out condensation, dry up any droplets with a towel. Then, check again, checking 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

Look at the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or faulty shut-off valve may 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 don’t solve the problem, your toilet is more likely than not leaking at the base like you thought. Before contacting a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. You may need to pry off the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt underneath. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to get new ones.

Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring

If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t help, a damaged wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may notice a sewage odor, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet wobbles, this may mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the component 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 discover that a failed wax ring is indeed the problem, fixing it involves 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 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 in addition to everything else.
    • Lifting and lowering the cumbersome plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an injured 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 coordinate.
    • If you discover the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than replacing the wax ring.
    • Removing the toilet, making the necessary 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, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fields of expertise. Whether you complete 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, relax, and let us take care of it. To schedule dependable 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.