Struggling With A Leaky Toilet? How To Address The Most Common Causes

Posted on: 3 November 2014

A leaking toilet can be far more than just a nuisance. In fact, if your toilet is leaking around the base, it could be a potential health hazard, because leaking from the base of the toilet is frequently contaminated water. Here's a look at the two most common causes for toilet leaks and how to fix them.

Loose Tee Bolts

The tee bolts on each side of the toilet base can come loose over time. If your toilet rocks slightly and is loose, that's a key indication that your leak is the result of loose bolts. You may be able to fix the problem by tightening the tee bolts.

Remove the plastic covers that sit atop the bolts. You should be able to just lift the covers straight up off the bolts. Tighten the exposed bolts with an open end or adjustable wrench. Turn the bolt until they stop turning, but don't over-tighten them. If you try to tighten them further when they stop turning easily, you may damage the bolt and the toilet.

Replace the covers and monitor the toilet for a time to see if that corrects the problem. If it does not, there's a chance that you'll need to replace the wax ring.

Damaged Wax Ring

The wax ring under the toilet creates a seal between the ring and the flange. If the wax ring is dried, damaged or crushed, it will cause the toilet to leak. You'll have to replace the wax ring if yours has failed.

To access the wax ring, you'll have to remove the toilet. Shut off the water to the toilet, then drain the tank. Once it is drained of water, you can remove the tee bolts. Lift the toilet off the floor and set it aside on a drop cloth.

Use a putty knife to scrape all of the residual wax from the wax ring off the floor. Once it is clean, you can install a new ring in its place. Make sure that it is in the same position as the old one, centered around the flange.

Replace the toilet so that it is centered in place, and secure it with the tee bolts. Watch the toilet for a day or two for signs of any residual leaks. If your toilet is still leaking, you'll need to call a plumber.

With the tips presented here, you can fix some of the most common sources of toilet leaks. If you aren't comfortable doing this on your own, call a plumber—such as one from Valley Rooter Ltd—for support.