If you find water around your toilet, the first step is to find the source of the leak. This is something that you have to pay attention to immediately as a leak can cause a lot of damage.
Usually, there will be a small hole in the bottom of the toilet tank, where water can enter and create an issue for your toilet. The hole will most likely be at the seam around where the tank meets the bowl.
It is also possible that the toilet wax ring or sewer flange are broken. You will have to remove the toilet to fix this. This is a more serious issue as you are dealing with wastewater instead of clean water. There are some other potential causes as well. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
The toilet flappper should also be checked.
How to tell if toilet is leaking underneath
Signs of a leak can be hard to spot, but there are some things to watch for.
– If there is a strong smell coming from your toilet
– If you see water on the floor around your toilet, this is also a sign of a leak.
-You feel wet spots around the toilet. Your hands are great tools to check for leaks.
-If you hear water running
If you are unsure, you can install a water sensor to see if there is a problem. It is possible that some water went over the toilet bowl once and that there is no problem at all. Toilet leaks can be serious as they can drip water in the wall or under the floor. Therefore it is essential that you investigate this further if you think that there is an issue. Leaks can be small but it adds up over time.
How do you fix a leak on the bottom of a toilet?
Once you have determined the cause of the leak, it is possible to fix it. Let’s go over some reasons why there is water around your toilet:
-A crack in the toilet bowl:
A lot of people overtighten the bolts on the toilet when they install it. This can lead to a crack in the toilet bowl. The toilet will have to be replaced if this happens. This can also happen after an earthquake or if someone dropped something heavy in the toilet bowl. Toilets generally have to be replaced after 15-20 years.
-Fixing a leaking toilet tank
If there is a small hole in the bottom of your tank, where water can enter and create an issue for your toilet, then it is most likely at the seam around where the tank meets the bowl or near where your overflow tube connects to your drain line.
Some people will use tape to fix this but it is not recommended as the hole can get bigger and you can have a bigger leak. It is best to turn off the water supply and replace the toilet.
The toilet tank of hanging toilets is generally integrated into the wall. This makes it harder to replace the tank as you have to open the wall. This can create a lot of damage and should probably be done by a professional.
-Fixing a wax ring or sewer flange
The toilet is connected to the drain with a wax ring and sewer (or toilet) flange. The was ring or toilet flange can be broken.
This is the main reason why there is water around a toilet. Leaking from the toilet base is usually due to a broken wax ring or sewer flange. If it is one of these two, you will have to remove the toilet to get it fixed.
If you suspect that your wax ring is broken, the first thing to do is to close the water supply, get the water out of the toilet and remove the toilet. If the wax ring is broken, the wax ring will need to be replaced. The toilet must be removed before installing a new wax ring. If you are handy, you can do this yourself. We have discussed how this needs to happen in more detail here.
You might have to replace the toilet flange as well if it is broken. To do this, it is possible that you have removed a piece of the floor if it has been damaged by the leak. Installing a toilet flange should generally be done by a plumber as it needs to be done correctly.
You might have another leak or it might be needed to replace a sewage drain if it is done improperly. It can involve gluing PVC and this is quite challenging as you need to check the cure times. It also has to be perfectly level. If you don’t have experience with this, it can be difficult to get it right.
You can also use a toilet flange extender. This is used if the gap between the toilet and the toilet flange is too big. In some cases, the toilet flange and wax ring are not broken but the gap between the toilet and the wax ring is too big. To fix this, we can use a toilet flange extender.
– Stuck toilet flapper
Another cause could be too much water pressure and it’s causing your toilet to flood or overflow. This is not that common but it can occur if the toilet flapper gets stuck. The water can keep flowing and the toilet might not be able to hold the water. If you see that the bowl is full of water, this could be the case. Generally, it will indicate a clogged drain though.
A clogged drain can make your toilet bowl overflow. The water is not able to go through your drain system and comes back through the toilet. Generally, this water is dirty so it is necessary to fix it as soon as possible. Often this can be done with a plunger. This builds up pressure and pushes the clog away.
More serious clogs have to be fixed with water pressure or a grinder. Plumbers have cameras to check what is going on and can fix the problem quite easily. If the diameter of your drains is too small, your plumber might have to replace them.
-Other problems with your drains
It is also possible that there are other problems such as the angle of your drains that are not correct, improper venting, or installation of your system. These are more complex problems to fix and an engineer even might have to check your system if problems keep persisting. Every system is unique and plumbers sometimes have to troubleshoot to see what is going on. These are more exceptions though as it is often an easy fix if your toilet base is leaking.
How to prevent future leaks.
You should make sure that your toilet is level and that everything is properly tightened.
Make sure that you don’t flush wet wipes, tampons, or other items that can clog up your drains.
It is a great idea to replace your toilet after 15 years as some components can start to break down and leak.
Clean your toilet and toilet tank regularly so that there is no dirt or dust in it.
By doing so, you may prevent any future leaks.
To conclude, we can state that fixing leaks around the toilet base is often quite straightforward. There are several causes of this though so finding the root cause is a big step. Once this is done, you can move forward. Be sure to call a plumber if you are stuck. Temporary fixes can work but they are not recommended as this can lead to big issues down the road.