Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you notice water pooling at the base of the toilet? Don’t put your head in the sand. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking slowly with each flush, allowing unsanitary 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 piece of equipment is designed to form a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it fails, water may seep out every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to locate the source of the leak and pinpoint the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise reaching out to a plumber for qualified 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 specifically where the water is coming 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 puddling onto the floor. To check for this, wipe up any standing water with a rag and flush the toilet. Look thoroughly —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely cause. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy way to solve this problem. 

Examine the Toilet Tank 

Run your hands around the exterior of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a dry washcloth. Then, look again, checking for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you see. If the tank is broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet. 

Inspect the Water Hose 

Check the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, broken hose or malfunctioning shut-off valve sometimes can 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 probably leaking at the base like you thought. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. You may need to remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to screw the bolt too tight, 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 faulty wax ring could be the culprit after all. Besides water soaking the floor around the toilet, you may detect 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 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 discover that a faulty 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 repair without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a certified 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 hurt back. 
  • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a Expert eye. And if any damage has occurred, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help coordinate. 
  • If you discover the entire flange at the bottom of the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even harder than replacing the wax ring. 
  • Removing the toilet, making the required change and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You most likely 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, repairing toilet leaks is one of our fortes. Whether you follow the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, 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, don’t worry, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule superior 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. 

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