Nobody wants to face the ordeal of a toilet problem. And as a homeowner or a business owner, expect some issues your toilet system can encounter. You can have a blocked toilet, a running toilet bowl, flushing issues, a squeaky toilet seat or even a leak.
The more common leaks can occur in two areas — the toilet's base or inside the bowl itself. If you notice water pooling at the bottom of the toilet, a leak has occurred, and you need to determine the source and cause.
A toilet leaking from the base could lead to other plumbing issues that may be costly to repair. This you can't afford to happen. After all, the toilet gets used daily, and when it fails you, your household gets affected. It is best to fix the problem as soon as you determine the type of leak.
Why would a toilet leak at the base?
1. Condensation on Toilet Collects on Floor
Moisture condensing on the outer surface of the toilet bowl or toilet tank can run down the bowl or tank and collect on the floor. It can be the effect of a constantly running toilet or a temperature difference between the room and the water in the tank.
Reduce or divert bathroom condensation through a bathroom exhaust fan to warm the bathroom. Or add a drip tray below the tank.
2. Toilet Tank and Bowl Are Loose
The connector between the lower bowl and the upper tank may become loose, or the O-ring gasket between the tank and the bowl might be cracked or loose. Tightening the bolts can sometimes improve the attachment between the two pieces. If the gasket is faulty, it can be replaced with a new gasket.
Rusty bolts may not tighten and may need replacement. Consider hiring a professional for this job that requires a certain level of expertise.
3. Toilet Bolts Are Loosening Up
Over time, toilet bolts can loosen. It is easy to check if you shake the bowl gently to see if it moves.
If you can see and feel movement, you have a loose toilet that needs to be tightened at the bolts. Toilets are attached to the floor with bolts that connect to the metal or plastic closet flange. And the flange bolts to the floor around the top of the sewer pipe.
Check the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. If you tighten these bolts, it can stop water from leaking around the toilet's base. You can tighten these bolts clockwise by hand first, followed by a small wrench. Make sure not to over tighten as you can risk cracking the bowl.
The toilet may also be loose because the seal is loose or leaking, in which case you'll want to replace the seal.
4. Toilet Seal Is Loose or Leaking
The wax ring underneath the toilet and sealing the base against the top of the sewer pipe and closet flange may have hardened or loosened. This allows water to leak from the base of the toilet. Or the original wax seal may have been inadequate in the first place.
Remove the toilet, clean the flange, and replace the wax seal with an improved seal or a silicone ring.
If you need to replace the wax seal
A wax ring is essential as it creates a watertight seal between the floor flange and the drain pipe. When the ring has deteriorated, you need to replace it.
This process is manageable, but it involves many steps and could be a two-person job as removing the toilet is necessary.
- Wear protective clothing such as gloves
- Turn off the water
- Drain all water from the tank. Give a good plunge to ensure all the water has gone down the drain.
- Make sure to remove the water supply line from your tank.
- Unscrew the bolts carefully, and with a second pair of hands, remove the toilet from the floor.
- With covered hands, remove the wax with a scraper or plumbers putty knife and dispose of the old wax ring in a garbage bag.
- Replace the wax ring. Position the new wax ring onto the flange opening. Be sure it is snuggly fitted.
- Position the t bolts at the toilet base and gently lower the toilet down. Ensuring it is covering the wax ring and flange opening.
- Secure and tighten the bolts by hand and wrench. Always turn clockwise and never overtighten. Clean away any dirty water and grime around the toilet.
- Turn the water back on and wait for the tank to fill up. Flush the toilet to test for water at the bottom of the toilet.
Depending on the severity of the leakage and the cause, you can DIY a leaking toilet. But if it's a more complex issue with drains or your toilet tank that requires a professional inspection, call your trusted plumber.
There are many different causes of plumbing issues, and removing or replacing the toilet is not easy. It's not a project for the faint of heart. It is always recommended you get in touch with your local licensed plumber to carry out any repairs and replacements in your bathroom.