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What Causes a Leaking Toilet to Leak at the Base?

Have you observed a pool of water surrounding the toilet’s base? There could be several reasons for a leaking toilet, and the first step is to halt its usage until the source of the leakage can be identified. Secondly, it’s crucial not to neglect the leaking toilet at the base.

Continuing to use the toilet may allow more water to seep beneath it, resulting in unsanitary conditions and potential bacterial growth and unpleasant odors emanating from the leaked water. Furthermore, the leaked water must be going somewhere, and if it isn’t going down the sewer drain, it may be seeping between the flooring and subflooring.

This not only creates the potential for water damage but also invites issues with mold and mildew. Thus, it’s vital to address the problem at the earliest and take appropriate measures to fix the leakage to avoid any further complications.

Finding the Source of a Leaking Toilet


A toilet that appears to be leaking around the base may not necessarily have a base leak. To identify the source of the leakage, some investigative work is necessary, and the following steps should be taken:

Step 1: Start by turning off the water supply to the toilet, which can usually be found under the toilet tank. Turn the valve until it is completely closed.

Step 2: Using protective gloves, clean up the water around the toilet’s base, taking into consideration that the water could have come from the inside of the bowl. When mopping up the water, wash the mop head thoroughly in hot water and bleach to eliminate germs and bacteria.

Step 3: After clearing up the water, inspect the toilet tank’s underside for any leaks. Leaks from the tank can trickle down the back of the toilet, giving the impression of a base leak. Slow leaks can be difficult to detect, so it’s important to check if there is sufficient water in the tank. A low water level indicates that the leak is probably from the tank rather than the base.

Step 4: If the tank isn’t leaking, check to see whether the toilet bolts at the base are loose. The bolts are usually located at the base’s rear and have a plastic cover. Take off the plastic cover and use a wrench to check if the bolts are tight. Avoid over-tightening the bolts, as this can crack the base.

Step 5: If the bolts are tight, and the tank isn’t leaking, the wax ring that connects the toilet to the sewer line may need to be replaced. Replacing the wax ring is a messy task that requires basic bathroom plumbing knowledge and the right tools and components.

You’ll need to drain the toilet tank and remove the toilet from the floor. If you’re not confident about handling this task or are afraid of creating additional leaks or damaging the toilet, it’s best to contact a professional bathroom plumber for assistance.

When the toilet is removed, it’s a good time to inspect under the toilet, as well as the flooring and subflooring, for water damage, mold, and mildew. If you discover water damage, you need to allow the affected area to fully dry out and then make any necessary repairs before reinstalling the toilet.

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