Struggling With Persistent Toilet Leaks? Steps To Replace The Wax Ring

Are you finding puddles of water on the floor at the base of your toilet? Chances are you have a leaky wax ring under the toilet base. Since these persistent leaks can not only waste water but also lead to water damage on the floor, you'll want to address it right away. You can call a plumber to do this, but if you're handy, you can replace the wax ring on your own. Here's a look at the structure of the toilet and the steps to replace the ring.

Toilet Assembly

The wax ring sits atop the drain pipe that sticks up from the floor. It forms a seal between the drain flange and the toilet base to prevent leaks. The wax will dry out over time, and it can even become compressed or damaged if the toilet bowl rocks and is unstable. When the wax ring is compressed or damaged, it'll cause a persistent leak around the toilet base. To stop the leak, you need to remove the toilet and replace the ring.

Start by Clearing Out the Water

Before you can disconnect the toilet and remove it, you'll need to shut off the water supply. Start by closing the shut-off valve on the toilet. In most cases, you can do this by turning the handle clockwise until it stops. Then, flush the toilet to get rid of the water in the bowl and the tank. With the water supply off, it won't refill. This will allow you to move the toilet out of place without getting water everywhere.

Remove the Tank Bowl

Find the nut on the water supply line connecting the toilet tank to the shut-off valve. Loosen the nut by turning it counterclockwise. Remove the line from the tank. Disconnect the bolts from the tank and remove the toilet tank from the bowl. This will make it easier for you to remove the toilet bowl from the floor. The line may drip water, so put a towel under it to soak the water up.

Take the Toilet Out

Loosen the nuts that are holding the toilet to the floor. You'll want pliers or a large wrench to do this. Lift the toilet straight up to remove it from the floor. This ensures that you lift it without damaging the drain pipe. You might want to recruit a helper for this part, though, because toilets aren't light.

Replace the Wax Ring

After you remove the toilet, you'll need to scrape up the residual wax from the existing wax ring. Use a putty knife to scrape away as much of it as possible. Place the new wax ring in the same position where the old one was. Press it down just enough so that it stays in place, but not so much that you squash it.

Re-install the Toilet

Once you have the wax ring in place, it's time to re-install the toilet. You'll probably want to have a helper again, because it means lifting the toilet to put it back in place. Make sure that you center it so that it sits securely in place.

Press down firmly on the toilet bowl so that it seals on the wax ring. Then, secure the toilet by replacing the bolts. Just tighten them until they stop, though. If you over-tighten them, you're bound to crack the toilet.

Replace the tank. Rock the toilet bowl to make sure that there's no movement. You need to be sure that it is stable and secure before you restore the water supply. If the bowl does rock slightly, you can place a shim or two under the edge so that it's stable. Restore the water flow and let the tank refill.

With this process, you can put an end to the persistent leaks from a worn out wax ring. If your leak persists after you do this, you should call a plumber who can troubleshoot the issue and help you repair it.

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