You never really know how essential a working toilet is…until one malfunctions. Walking into your bathroom to find a huge puddle around the base of your toilet is concerning enough to make you want to call a plumber right then and there, and who can blame you? Having a leaky toilet is not only unsanitary, but it can also cause water damage to your flooring or surrounding walls. But believe it or not, sometimes a toilet that’s leaking at its base isn’t as big of a problem as you may think. This is why it’s important to learn the possible causes and how to fix them before you call a plumber.
Bowl or Tank Condensation
Calling a plumber to fix your toilet, only to find out the problem was never really a problem at all, is something we would all like to avoid. One of the more common problems that doesn’t require a plumber is condensation—especially if you live in a more humid area. To determine if excess water is a minor nuisance or the sign of a bigger problem, take some paper towels and wipe the base of your toilet down. Once all the water at the toilets’ base has been absorbed, flush the toilet. If water does not pool at the base, your leaky toilet problem is nothing more than a little condensation. Just keep an eye out for a buildup of moisture around the base, as this could potentially damage the flooring around the toilet. If necessary, place some towels around the base to absorb excess moisture until the condensation subsides.
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Water Supply Hoses
You know those little hoses coming out of the wall that attaches to your toilet? Well, they may just be the cause of your toilet troubles. Those hoses can get damaged or worn down over time, which can result in a slow and steady drip from your water supply line onto your floor. The leak could come from either the supply line itself or the fittings that secure the hoses to the water line and/or tank. If you have a newer home, it’s possible the lines may just need to be gently tightened to secure the connections and create a watertight seal. If tightening the fittings doesn’t stop the leak, then you may need to replace your water supply hose. This should be done by a professional.
Loose Toilet Closet Bolts
Another thing you can do is check to see if your toilet is bolted tightly to the floor. Believe it or not, your toilet can become loose from the base, which can cause a problem every time the toilet is flushed. When looking at the base of your toilet, you should see two bolts—sometimes covered with caps. Underneath those bolts is a wax ring. If the wax ring doesn’t form a water-tight seal, the toilet will leak from its base when you flush it. In order to fix this issue, your plumber will need to remove the toilet, inspect the wax ring for damage, and carefully tighten the bolts that anchor your toilet to the floor. Tightening some loose toilet closet bolts may seem easy enough to DIY, but if the wax ring is damaged, or if you over-tighten the bolts, you will have a bigger problem on your hands. Overtightening the bolts that secure your toilet to the base can crack/shatter the toilet. Therefore, it’s recommended to hire a professional.
Related Topic: New Houses Can Have Plumbing Problems, Too
If your leak is persistent and all other possible causes have been ruled out, it may be a failing wax ring that’s causing your leak. Wax rings need to be air and water-tight in order to prevent any water leakage. So, how can you tell if your wax ring is the real culprit? Besides water pooling around the base of your toilet, you may be able to smell when your wax ring needs a replacement. If you notice a rotten egg smell emitting from your toilet, it's a good sign that your wax ring may have a void or separation and the seal compromised. Another sign that your wax ring may need replacing is if your toilet wobbles. This means it's most likely sitting on a broken flange. Replacing the wax ring is a process that involves removing and reinstalling the entire toilet, which can take a few hours to complete. To avoid a future problem, it’s best to hire a professional to do the job.
Professional Plumbing Service
Now that you understand the possible causes of your leaky toilet, what do you do next? Well, if the problem involves replacing the toilet closet bolts and/or wax ring on your toilet, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to complete the job. Although both jobs are not overly complicated, if they are not done correctly it could lead to more damage and expensive repairs. A leaky toilet is a nuisance, but a flooded bathroom can be a disaster. If you have a toilet that’s leaking around the base, call your local Mr. Rooter. We have the experience and expertise to diagnose the problem quickly and can offer you service options that fit your budget.