Is Your Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Is water pooling on the bathroom floor around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem! If the toilet is leaking from the base, this water has come from the toilet bowl and is not sanitary. The dirty water may even have a sewer smell to it. If left untreated, your toilet will continue to leak a little with each flush, resulting in water damage to the flooring, subfloor, and possibly the ceiling of the floor below.

Here’s a look at why your toilet is leaking at the base and how to fix it.

Test the Leaky Toilet

This type of leak usually occurs when you flush the toilet. To make sure the “leak” isn’t merely condensation on the toilet bowl, soak up the water with paper towels and flush the toilet again. A pool may also form on the bathroom floor if you have a loose water supply line or faulty shut-off valve. Examine the hoses behind the toilet to rule out this possibility.

Tighten the Toilet Tee Bolts

If the toilet continues to leak at the base when flushed, it might not be bolted tightly to the floor. Look at the base of the toilet, and you’ll see two tee bolts, which might be covered with caps. If the wax ring under these bolts doesn’t form a water-tight seal, the toilet will leak from the base when you flush it.

To fix this problem, simply tighten the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. You may need a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to pry off the caps. Tighten the bolts a little at a time, alternating from the left bolt to the right one. Be careful not to over-tighten, or the toilet base could crack. If the bolts just spin when you attempt to tighten them, you might need new ones.

Replace the Wax Ring

Test the repair by flushing the toilet. If water still pools around the base, this means a failing wax ring is causing the leak. Fortunately, wax rings are inexpensive and relatively straightforward to replace, though you’ll need to remove the toilet to get the job done. This job can take a few hours to complete and may require two people. If you don’t feel up to it, call a plumber for help.

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