What happens when toilet wax ring leaks?

Author: Prof. Jaycee Rutherford  |  Last update: Wednesday, August 9, 2023

A damaged wax ring doesn't seal the connection between the toilet and sewer line. This causes water to leak out and pool around your toilet. If you catch this issue quickly, then it may not damage your subfloor and require additional repairs. Some leaks are constant, while others only occur when you flush the toilet.

What happens if toilet wax seal is leaking?

Have you noticed leaks around the toilet? If your toilet wax ring is not sealed properly at the base of your toilet, it can cause health risks to you and your family or structural damage to the subfloor of your bathroom, requiring expensive repairs.

How do I know if my toilet wax ring is leaking?

Warning Signs That The Wax Ring On Your Toilet Has Gone Bad
  1. The Floor of Your Bathroom Is Soaked With Water.
  2. Damage to the Ceiling or Floor Caused by Water.
  3. Poor Odors Emanating From the Bathroom.
  4. Toilet That Rocks.
  5. Drain, wipe dry, then cut off the power.
  6. Take Away the Bathroom.
  7. Take a Scraping of It.

Why is the wax ring around my toilet leaking?

A: The most likely cause is that the wax ring around the closet flange is leaking, allowing a small amount of water to seep from under the toilet with each flush. The wax rings are probably misaligned. The fix is to reseat the toilet using a flange extension and one wax ring.

What is the life expectancy of a toilet wax seal?

Every toilet in your home has a wax ring connecting it to your plumbing, which creates a waterproof seal to keep what goes down to the sewer from seeping out the sides. This piece of equipment usually lasts as long as the toilet, about 30 years.

What Happens When a Toilet Seal Leaks

How long does a wax seal under a toilet last?

The wax ring is exactly what it sounds like: a ring made of sticky wax that helps form a watertight seal between the bottom of the toilet and the sewer pipe. It requires no maintenance and can last 30 or more years, often as long as the toilet itself. But sometimes wax rings can dry out, crumble, and fail prematurely.

Does a wax ring only leak when flushed?

The only-when-flushed toilet leak could be caused by loose mounting bolts or a worn-out wax gasket while the all-the-time leak could be caused by a loose water supply line connection, a problematic water shutoff valve, or a faulty seal between the toilet tank and its base.

How do I know if my toilet seal is bad?

3 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Toilet Wax Ring
  1. Water around the Toilet Base. The first sign of a bad toilet ring is water forming around the base of the toilet. ...
  2. Bad Odors Coming from the Toilet. ...
  3. Ceiling or Floor Damage. ...
  4. Non-Wax Related Toilet Leaks. ...
  5. Call for Toilet Repairs Right Away.

How much does it cost to replace a toilet wax seal?

$90-$120 is a good ballpark.

If you are having other plumbing work done, they might do it cheaper, and if they have a large travel fee, you may pay closer to $150. Unless there is a problem, it should take them under a half hour, whereas, it might take a novice 1.5-2 hours.

What causes a wax seal to leak?

If the closet flange cracks and causes the toilet to become unstable, the rocking movement can also break the wax ring. When this occurs, water will leak from the base of the toilet and often through the ceiling below. Improper installation practices are typically the reason for this type of failure.

Can you replace wax ring without replacing toilet?

You should always consider replacing the toilet supply when replacing the wax seal. If toilet is caulked to the finished floor of the bathroom, score the caulking all the way around the toilet base with a razor knife.

What is the most common toilet leak?

The most common toilet leak is caused by a deteriorated flush valve (flapper) at the bottom of the toilet tank. If the flapper does not seat properly, water will leak into the toilet bowl. Often this leak will occur without being heard.

Should I caulk around my toilet?

🚽 Caulking Prevents Water Contamination

It could be water splashing out of a bathtub, mop water, water from a shower and even misguided potty training from your young boys who seem to miss the toilet bowl every single time! Without caulk around the toilet base, water can get under there and sit for a long time.

Is wax ring failure covered by insurance?

The resulting damage caused by the Category 3 water damage resulting from a wax seal leak is covered under most homeowners' insurance policies.

What happens when a toilet seal fails?

A damaged wax ring doesn't seal the connection between the toilet and sewer line. This causes water to leak out and pool around your toilet. If you catch this issue quickly, then it may not damage your subfloor and require additional repairs. Some leaks are constant, while others only occur when you flush the toilet.

Can a broken toilet seal smell?

A sewer gas smell in the bathroom can be caused by:

broken seal around the toilet in the wax ring or the caulk. A burst pipe. tree's roots have grown into or have caused damage to your sewer pipes. the sewer or main drain has bellied, collapsed, deformed, or deteriorated.

How do I know if my wax ring failed?

Determine if the Wax ring is possibly bad by inspecting the floor for water or a foul odor of sewer gas. Use food coloring. If are unsure of where water is coming from you can add food coloring to the toilet tank. If the floor's water is the same color, then you likely will need to install a new wax ring.

How often do you change the wax ring under the toilet?

In conclusion, the wax ring on your toilet will most likely never need to be replaced for the lifetime of the toilet. But, it will if you find that the base of your toilet is leaking. Sometimes, leaks at the base can be caused by the bolts being too loose. On the other hand, it could be because of a faulty wax ring.

Should I put the wax ring on the toilet or the flange?

Place the wax ring on the closet flange, not on the toilet. Pick up the toilet and set it evenly over the closet flange, making sure the bolts come through the bolt holes in the toilet base. Fine-tune the toilet position, so it's right where you want it, then push it straight down so it smashes the wax evenly.

Can a clogged toilet cause a leak?

A clogged drain line can put pressure on the wax ring at the base of your toilet, which can break the ring and cause toilet leaks. If you suspect this is the problem, contact a plumber for an evaluation. They can unclog the drain line and get your toilet back up and running in no time.

Can a bad wax ring cause sewer gas smell?

The wax ring is meant to provide an airtight seal, so no smell or liquid escapes. If the wax ring somehow snaps or is broken down over many years, the airtight seal will break and the sewer odor will be released into the bathroom.

Why is my toilet leaking from the bottom when I flush?

The Tee Bolts Need to Be Tightened.

The base of your toilet is held to the ground with two bolts called tee bolts. If these bolts loosen, the toilet will likely rock, causing the seal formed by the wax ring to break. Drain water may seep out of the base each time you flush the toilet if your tee bolts are very loose.

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