18 Mar 2013

Ring Around the Toilet: Wax Ring Leakage and Replacement

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Do you have water pooling on your bathroom floor, or mysterious water rings on the ceiling where an upstairs toilet sits? Then you may have a leaky wax ring — the protective seal that fits between the base of the toilet and the drain. And if you don’t fix it, you’ll have a lake where a floor used to be.

Before you make this diagnosis, of course, you have to rule other issues like a leaky tank connector or tank condensation. But if there’s no other culprit, and you seem to get fresh water with every flush (or the vinyl flooring caulked to the toilet base seems to be developing strange fluid-filled lumps), then you’ve found your problem. To replace a faulty wax ring, first shut off the water supply valve and undo the bolts holding the toilet to the floor. Then pull the toilet away and stuff rags into the drain hole to prevent sewer gas from filling your home. Scrape away the old wax ring with a putty knife, clean away any wax scraps or other debris, and then fit the replacement ring into place.

Can you replace your toilet’s wax ring by yourself? Well, I guess so, but you’re not going to enjoy it. It’s a messy, nasty project, it requires you to look for the correct size replacement ring, and it’s even potentially dangerous if you throw your back out trying to move the toilet. You may also find a broken flange, rot in the surrounding floor, or some other complication you weren’t prepared to deal with. That’s why we think this is most likely a job for a plumber — and Steve’s Plumbing Repair is always happy to oblige. So if the base of your toilet has turned into a geyser, contact us for fast, professional, quality service!