What Causes Toilet Base Leaks

by Editor on May 15, 2013

Dragon Hostel Toilet/shower

There are many different kinds of toilet leaks, but the one you really don’t want to have is a leak at the base. Many leaks come from cracks somewhere in the porcelain or a loose flapper valve in the tank. While those leaks present their own sets of problems, a toilet that leaks at the base is particularly egregious. Obviously, the water is far from potable and it creates a continuous mess that just doesn’t seem to go away. There are two major reasons for leaks around the base, only one of which is an easy fix.

Loose Flange Bolts

The bolts that essentially keep the toilet tethered in place are also good for ensuring that the base never leaks. Sometimes these flange bolts loosen after a period of time. In some cases, they were never tightened down fully in the first place. Tightening the flange bolts is a good way to ensure that the water and other stuff in the toilet bowl make a clean escape. All it really takes is a wrench to tighten the bolts securely and make sure that no more nasty messes occur. It should be noted that tightening the bolts too firmly can lead to cracks in the porcelain. While this generally doesn’t produce the same kind of mess as a leaky toilet base, cracks in the porcelain are almost impossible to repair.

Degraded Wax Ring

Over time, the wax ring that connects the toilet base to the outlet hole will eventually start to lose its functionality. A solid wax ring ensures that no water can escape out of the sides of the outlet pipe. Of course, a wax ring that isn’t quite as solid will allow water and sewage to seep through at will. Fixing this requires a little know-how and a lot of desire because it’s not an exceedingly easy job to undertake.

For starters, you have to remove the entire toilet from its current location. This involves turning the water off and ensuring that the toilet bowl is 100% dry before moving it out. Then you must remove the remnants of the old wax ring before putting on a new one. When putting the toilet back into place, you’ll need to ensure that everything lines up perfectly. The bowl outlet needs to align perfectly with the hole and the new wax ring. Additionally, the flange bolts and the toilet’s holes must match up adroitly.

If all of this sounds a little over your head, then you might want to contact a plumber to do the job for you. It is common for amateurs to make mistakes with the removal and installation of the toilet bowl. If you encounter a particularly egregious situation or your new wax ring seal doesn’t work, then you might need to contact an emergency plumber to help you out of a jam.

Remember that even common plumbing issues could require the service of a licensed plumber so make sure to have one on speed dial in the event you cannot fix the problem yourself.

About the Author

Greg Lence has 20 years of experience as a plumber and shares his experience throughout the internet so that people can save money on their plumbing problems.

photo by: Tracy Hunter

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