Why is Water Leaking at the Base of My Toilet?
Walking into the bathroom and noticing a pool of water around the toilet base isn’t normal. At first, you might think it was just a spill, so you mop it up and move on with your day. However, if the water keeps returning, don’t ignore it. It’s important to find out why the toilet is leaking and repair the problem as soon as possible to avoid damaging the bathroom floor and inviting mold growth. Here’s what to do before calling a plumber in Utah County to fix your leaking toilet.
Stop Using the Toilet
Until you pinpoint the source of the leak and take steps to repair it, avoid flushing a leaking toilet. Doing so could make the leak worse or cause more damage to the floor around your toilet.
It’s also wise to shut off the water by turning the valve on the wall behind the toilet. Give it one final flush to remove water from the tank. Mop up any water this action leaks onto the floor, and then don’t use the toilet again until you have fixed the leak.
Check the Tee Bolts
Loose or broken tee bolts could break the toilet seal and cause a leak. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix. First, reposition the toilet if it has scooted to one side. Then, tighten the tee bolts connecting the toilet to the floor. You may need to remove decorative plastic caps to access the bolts beneath them. If the bolts are broken or keep spinning, you’ll need to replace them.
Check the Connections between the Toilet Bowl & Tank
If the tee bolts aren’t a problem, the next place to check is where the toilet bowl meets the tank. You should find two or three bolts connecting the two, with rubber washers installed on the inside of the tank. Over time, the bolts may loosen, or the washers may wear out, causing water to leak from the tank and pool around the toilet base.
Begin by tightening the bolt nuts underneath the tank with an adjustable wrench. If the nuts keep spinning, try tightening them from the inside of the tank. If all connections feel tight but the tank still leaks, replace the washers to restore a water-tight seal.
Inspect the Toilet for Cracks
Did something recently fall on your toilet? A high enough impact could crack the bowl or tank and cause it to leak onto the floor. In this scenario, your only option is to replace the toilet.
Check the Wax Ring
Does the leak only occur when you flush the toilet? This probably means the wax ring beneath the toilet base is eroded. If so, you’ll need to replace it. This involves removing the toilet from the floor to access the wax ring beneath.
If you feel up for trying the repair yourself, follow these steps:
- Buy a replacement wax ring: Head to the hardware store and pick up a new wax ring. Bring a picture of the toilet base so you can ask an employee for help finding the proper replacement.
- Prepare the toilet: If you haven’t already, turn off the water behind the toilet and flush it to remove the water from the tank. Then, plunge the bowl to remove as much remaining water as possible.
- Remove the toilet from the floor: Detach the water supply line from the toilet. Then, unscrew the tee bolts. Gently lift the toilet from the flange and drain pipe with help from another person. Lay the toilet on its side nearby.
- Remove the damaged wax ring: You should see a wax ring at the lip of the drain pipe, which may be cracked and degraded. Remove it, being aware that you may need a putty knife to chip away any residue. Have a trash bag ready for disposal.
- Install the new wax ring: Position the wax ring over the flange and screw the new tee bolts into place. If the old ones are still in good shape, feel free to use them.
- Reinstall the toilet: Grab a helper and lift the toilet over the drain pipe. Align the tee bolt holes with the bolts sticking up from the floor and press the toilet down onto the new wax ring to create a tight seal. Center and level the toilet, and then tighten the tee bolts. Reconnect the water line, turn the valve to restore water flow, and allow the tank to fill. Finally, flush the toilet to check for any remaining leaks.
- Caulk the toilet base: This final step is not a leak barrier—instead, it’s a way to keep the toilet in place so future leaks don’t develop. Caulk also prevents water from other sources from seeping under the toilet base and creating complications. Follow these steps to caulk the toilet base:
- Buy silicone-based “tub and tile” bathroom caulk in the same color as your toilet.
- Clean the toilet base and the floor around it.
- Apply the caulk using a calk gun. Use your finger or a caulking tool to quickly smooth out the caulk before it dries.
- Give the caulk 24 hours to dry completely.
Call a Professional Plumber for Help
Whether you don’t feel comfortable with a DIY toilet repair, or you can’t find the source of the leak, Triple T Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to help. We can tackle any toilet problem, whether common or unusual, to get your bathroom back up and running. If you decide to upgrade your toilet, we can install a new, high-efficiency model for dependable performance and lower water bills for years to come. Contact Triple T today at 801-798-7711 to request leaking toilet repair in Provo, Orem, or Spanish Fork, UT.