base leaks home’s toilet

Dealing With Base Leaks in Your Home’s Toilet

Your toilet is one of the most regularly-used pieces of plumbing in the home, and if you enter the bathroom to find water collecting on the floor around the toilet’s base, you’ll naturally be concerned. These kinds of leaks can both signal trouble with the toilet itself and lead to significant water damage concerns, including mold formation if water is allowed to seep into certain areas.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, our plumbers are here to help if you discover this issue in your home. We’re also here to provide basic DIY tips for handy homeowners who want to attempt to assess the issue on their own – here are a couple possible causes to take a look at, plus how you should respond if you find out these are the culprit in your issues.

Tightening Tee Bolts

The first area to check if you notice leaks around the base of the toilet is those little plastic caps we’ve all seen on the toilet base. Have you ever wondered what those little things are? They’re called tee bolts, and they’re meant to hold the toilet in place so it doesn’t rock or sway during use.

Over time and with enough pressure, however, the tee bolts can become loose or even break. In many such cases, the toilet’s seal is then broken as a result, leading to your leak issues. If this is the case, you can simply level and center the toilet, then tighten any loose bolts and replace any broken ones. Tee bolts are available for an affordable cost at any home improvement store.

Assessing Wax Ring Damage

If you have addressed your tee bolts and they are not the cause of the issue, the likely culprit is the wax ring. The wax ring is a sealing device between the base and the flange, one that attaches to the waste line and creates a barrier between the outside of the toilet and the sewage being flushed. If you require assistance, our team is happy to help you assess and replace your wax ring – but if you’re looking to perform this service yourself, here are the basic steps:

  • Take a picture of your toilet’s base, then bring it to a hardware store to find a compatible replacement.
  • Return home, and begin by shutting off the toilet’s water using the shut-off valve on the back. Then flush the toilet to remove sitting water, and plunge the base for a few seconds to make sure as much water as possible is removed.
  • Unscrew the water supply line and remove the tee bolts. You can now lift the toilet and place it on its side gently, before removing the old wax ring and any leftover wax.
  • Install the new wax ring over the flange, with tee bolts secured.
  • Finally, reposition the toilet and push it into the wax ring to create a new seal. Screw your tee bolts into place over the toilet and ensure everything is level before reconnecting the water line and turning the valve back on.
  • Give the toilet a flush to make sure there are no additional leaking concerns.

For more on what to do if your toilet is leaking at its base, or to learn about any of our plumbing or heating and air services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical today.