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Why is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

A pool of water from our toilet is the last thing we want to see on our bathroom floor. 

Sure, the small puddle on your bathroom floor could be from the shower you took earlier, but if you mop it up and it comes back, it’s time to consider calling your local plumbing service

Allowing the water to settle will eventually lead to water damage and mold growth. Both of which can be expensive to fix.

But why is your toilet leaking all over your floor? What should you do while you’re waiting for a plumber? How do you handle a leaking toilet on your own?

That’s what we’re here for. Today, we’re talking about why your toilet is leaking at the base and what to do while you wait for your plumber to arrive. 

Why is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Well, there are several reasons why your toilet is leaking at the base, and it’s important to know them so you can be prepared for the possible cost of repairs. 

So let’s go over each cause of the leak in your toilet base one by one!

Loose or Broken Tee Bolts

Loose or broken tee bolts can break toilet seals and cause your toilet to leak water at the base. 

Because of how simple this problem is, many homeowners will choose to just tighten the bolts themselves with whatever tools they can get their hands on.

But fixing your toilet leak without the right know-how or help from a professional plumber might lead to more damage.

Imagine trying to adjust tee bolts yourself only to cause cracks in your toilet’s porcelain. Yikes! 

That can instantly mean a full toilet replacement.

And THAT is expensive!

The best course of action? Just leave your bolts to the pros. But don’t hesitate to get tips on how tight you should keep your bolts so you can adjust them yourself.

Cracks

Another cause for your toilet leaking at the base is a crack in your toilet bowl or tank. 

We don’t advise doing any sort of DIY quick fixes that you see online on your leaking toilet. Instead, give your local plumber a call.

If the crack in your toilet bowl is wider than one-sixteenth of an inch, there is a good chance that you will need to replace the entire toilet instead of simply covering up the crack in your toilet bowl rim.

And before you ask, yes, it is quite pricey to replace a toilet. Not to mention the labor costs for plumbing services. So be prepared to pay a few hundred dollars.

But this is much cheaper than ignoring the leak in your toilet base and letting your water bill skyrocket every month.

Eroded Wax Ring

Wax rings are often used to prevent your toilet from leaking at the base. It is easy to mold and shape around the toilet’s base to create a watertight seal.

But there is a downside to using wax rings: it tends to deteriorate over time. 

The old wax ring around your toilet base can get loose due to wear and tear during daily use. A damaged wax ring will no longer be able to stop water from leaking at the base of the toilet.

You can try to fix your wax ring yourself. All you’ll need are a few tools like an adjustable wrench, a putty knife, and a new wax ring.

But if you prefer the help of a professional plumber, feel free to give your local plumbing service a call.

They’ll be able to install a new wax ring, secure your toilet base, and prevent more plumbing problems that may arise in the future. 

You’ll probably have to wait a few hours before you use your toilet again so the new wax seal can dry.

Leaking Shutoff Valve

A shutoff valve is a small tap that controls the water supply and allows it to connect to your toilet. It can also cause some toilet leaks over time.

Checking the seal of your shutoff valve should be one of the first things you do as soon as you spot water pooling around your toilet’s base.

In most cases, you can fix the leak by tightening your shut-off valve. But if leaks keep appearing, it might be time to replace the valve altogether.

Leaky Pipes

Where there are pipes, there are leaks. 

To verify if the leak is coming from your toilet’s pipes, you must dry out all the water around the base of your toilet.

Be sure to feel around the pipes, especially the joints, to see if there are any signs of water leaking from your toilet’s water line.

And don’t forget to wear rubber gloves when feeling around the pipes! You know what’s been passing through your toilet. You don’t want that all over your bare hands.

How to Deal with a Toilet Leak?

So we’ve gone over the various reasons why you have a leaky toilet base. Now it’s time to talk about how to deal with plumbing problems.

Don’t worry, the following tips won’t be hard to do yourself. They’re just precautionary measures that you need to take to avoid worsening your toilet leak.

Let’s get started!

Stop Using Your Toilet

As soon as you see water pooling around your toilet, you should assume that your leak barrier is failing and releasing water all over your bathroom floor. 

The first thing you should do is not use your toilet. 

Using the toilet while there are visible leaks can make it worse. But you also need to be wary of the water coming from the base of the toilet itself. 

This water typically goes straight to a sewer pipe and may contain disease-causing bacteria, and we’re sure you want nothing to do with that. 

Get Rid of the Water

The next step is to get rid of the pool of water as soon as possible. 

Because the water from your toilet goes straight down to a sewer pipe, there is a chance that it will house millions of illness-causing bacteria.

Letting it pool at the base of your toilet will not only lead to you getting sick, but it might also cause water damage and mold development.

So get a towel and get rid of the water around the base of your toilet ASAP.

We suggest using microfiber towels as these are great for absorbing excess water. But if you don’t have any, paper towels will do just fine.

Look for the Source

Once you get the water off your bathroom floor, it’s time to find the source of the toilet leak. There are a few toilet parts you will want to check out:

  1. Tank Lid

You may be tempted to check on your bathroom floor first, but it’s better to start at its highest point: the lid. 

You’ll want to remove the lid and see if the water is coming from that part of your toilet. If it is, you will be able to spot water overflowing from the tank and dripping down to the bathroom tiles.

  1. T-Bolts

If the leak is not coming from the lid, it’s time to move down to your toilet bolts. 

These T-bolts can usually be found at the base of toilets, under some plastic covers. These two bolts keep your toilet from wobbling.

Eventually, these two bolts can become loose, allowing water to leak out of your toilet bowl. 

To check if your T-bolts are loose, see if your toilet wobbles on the floor when given a good nudge. You can also take a wrench and twist the toilet bolts to see if they have come loose at the base.

But don’t twist these bolts too hard. You want to tighten the bolts just right, not break the porcelain. 

Again, if you are unsure how tight your bolts need to be, wait for a professional to handle that for you.

If your T-bolts still come loose even after a good adjustment, it’s time to drop by your local hardware store and get a new set of bolts.

  1. Wax Ring

After determining that the bolts are not the source of the problem, it’s time to check the wax seal.

The wax seal is used to seal your toilet drain outlet. 

Because it’s made of wax, the tight seal securing your toilet drain outlet will eventually loosen up or deteriorate, leading to the leaky toilet base you’re dealing with today.

You will eventually need a new ring/wax seal, and while you can install this around the base of your toilet yourself, a better alternative may be to call a professional to help you.

Call a Professional Plumber

For the final tip: call a plumber

When it comes to plumbing problems, it is better to ask for help from professionals, especially if you’re replacing toilet parts.

To be honest, needing to fix a leaky toilet by yourself can be stressful. You might even make mistakes that end up adding to the cost.

An experienced plumber can quickly fix a leaking toilet and make an accurate diagnosis and solutions to your current leak-related issues.

Avoid Leaky Toilets In the Future

Is there is way to never have to deal with a leaky toilet again? Yes! You can prevent leaky toilets through regular inspection and maintenance. 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to keep calling up a plumber every time you want an old wax seal replaced, that’s something you can do yourself. 

You can also keep tabs on your toilet’s T-bolts using a wrench that you can buy from your local hardware store. Just do an occasional twist every few months to see if they have loosened up. 

But you shouldn’t skip professional plumbing services either. You can schedule these every few months so your plumber can check out your toilet and diagnose any issues before they worsen.

Need someone to fix a leaking toilet? Perhaps your wax seal is starting to come loose.

No matter what, Mac 5 Services is here for you. Whether you need an old gasket replaced or a toilet fixed, our team has your back.

You can reach us at (321) 380-1776!

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