Why is my toilet leaking at base?

Why is my toilet leaking at the base?

Common reasons causing toilet leaking at the base are:

  1. Tee bolts at the toilet base are loose
  2. The wax ring has worn out
  3. Clogged drain line

To find out why your toilet is leaking at the base we have described below all the possible scenarios.

As a homeowner, you have probably encountered the situation when water is leaking from bottom of toilet. It’s quite unpleasant to discover a big puddle on the floor, but no need to panic either. If you are reading this article, then most probably you have just discovered toilet leaking around base. Although this issue is a little bit more complicated than for example replacing toilet flapper, however, we are intended to give you all instructions on how to fix toilet leaking by yourself.

First of all, as with most plumbing issues, we need to identify the reasons for toilet leaking at base.

The most common reasons for water leaking from under toilet are:

  1. The tee bolts that are at the base of the toilet are loose. You might have noticed that the toilet base is secured to the floor with the 2 tee bolts. The toilet base also has the seal (wax ring on the bottom) securing it. So, leaking toilet base might mean that the bolts got loose and the wax ring might be breaking. In this case, you will encounter a situation when the toilet leak at base when flushed.
  2. The wax ring, which has been already mentioned above might be too old or worn out.
  3. Another reason for toilet leaking from the bottom can possibly problems whith drain line, or in simple words clogged drain line.

Now that we know the major reasons for water leaking from under toilet, we can identify the problem and fix it.

Do not use the toilet if you see water around base of toilet because this water is hazardous and might have an unpleasant smell. Clean the water on the floor as soon as possible, so that the tiles and the floor are not damaged but be sure to use your rubber gloves for cleaning such water.

I hope the materials above have answered the question “Why is my toilet leaking from the bottom”. Now we move on to the fixing part.

How to fix toilet leaking from base if the tee bolts are loose ?

In case you have tee bolts loose it can potentially cause toilet leaking on floor. Tee bolts are rather easy to tighten. At the base of the toilet you will notice two plastic caps located on each side of the base. This plastic caps are covering your metal tee bolts that are securing the toilet bowl to the floor itself.

Tools you need to tighten the tee bolts:

  • Crescent wrench or Pliers

Remove the plastic caps that cover the tee bolts, turn the tee nut clockwise with a plier. Make sure your turn it until it’s tight. Do the same for each tee bolt. Once completed flushing your toilet to see if any water will leak. If you did everything right the leaking should stop. Put the plastic caps back on the tee bolts. In case the tightening of the tee bolts did not work, that potentially indicated that the problem is with the wax ring.

why is my toilet leaking from the bottom

Replacing the wax ring if toilet leaks at base

The toilet itself seats on the  wax ring that has the main aim of sealing the connection between the toilet and the drain line located on the floor. Most of the toilet have identical wax rings, but still, there could be slight differences depending on the model you have. If you are not sure which one you should get, take a picture and show it to the professional at the hardware store. They will pick up the same for you.

Step 1:

Shut off the water to the toilet, the shut-off valve is located behind the toilet (see the picture attached below for your reference). The next thing is to flush the toilet, to make sure there is no water left in the tank of the toilet. Unscrew the mountain nut holding the supply tube to the fill valve tailpiece. Use the wrench to remove the nuts from tee bolts.

toilet leaking at base

Step 2:

Lift the toilet from the floor and set it on the side. Be extra careful lifting the toilet as it is ceramic and might be damaged easily. The last thing you need is to purchase a new toilet. Also, the toilet is quite heavy and not very comfortable to be lifted by yourself, so our advice would be to ask for help to do it.

Step 3:

Now you need to scrape the old wax ring, make sure to remove it from all the parts.  The best way to do it is to use the putty knife. Make sure that you do it by having your rubber gloves on.

Step 4:

Now take the new wax ring and put it over the drain opening (plastic part should be directed down to the drain). Now you need to reinstall your toilet back. Make sure you place your toilet down over the drain opening and the tee bolts are positioned in the right way. Now press the toilet into the wax ring, slightly move it to compress, and slide it into the wax seal. Place back the tee bolts, plastic caps making sure you tighten the tee bolts.

Step 5:

Attach the water supply tube to the tailpiece of the valve and turn of the supply of the water. After the water fills the tank of the toilet, flush the water and inspect if the toilet leaks at a base when flushed.

The last reason why base of toilet leaking can be a clogged drain line that can give extra pressure on the wax ring and cause a leak. The common way to deal with this problem is to use a plunger. However, if the clog is substantial you might want to consider calling a professional plumber to clean the drain line. We would highly recommend not to perform this kind of job yourself and leave it to a professional.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to tackle the problem, make sure to check our other articles and leave your comments below!

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