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Got A Toilet That Leaks?
Fix your leaky toilet today and help conserve water

Water On Your Bathroom Floor?
toiletIf you're concerned about water you found on your bathroom floor, near your toilet, please rest assured that there are a number of different possible causes for the problem that are more common - and usually less costly - than the potentially expensive possibility of wastewater coming up from beneath your toilet. After you eliminate the most obvious cause (bad aim), consider the following before presuming the problem is with the seal between your toilet and the sewer line.

The Two Best Places To Start
Condensation: Possibly the most common cause for excess water on the floor of a bathroom is water condensing on the outside of the toilet's tank and dripping onto the floor, which is often referred to as the tank "sweating." Tank condensation/sweat is caused by the difference in temperature of the water inside the tank, which is usually very cold, and the temperature of the air outside the tank in the bathroom, which is often warm and steamy. Tank condensation sometimes occurs more often in the summer months than the cold winter months, but can occur any time of year if the conditions are right. There are easy solutions to this type of problem, however, such as toilet tank liners (which insulate the cold water inside the tank from the humid outside) or anti-sweat toilet tank valves (which mix cold and warm water coming into the tank to reduce the temperature variance inside and outside the toilet tank). It's not easy to confirm the water on your floor is completely an issue of tank condensation/sweat, unfortunately; basically, wipe the outside of your tank thoroughly with a towel, and then over time try to visually detect whether or not water is gathering on the outside of the tank again.

Water leaking from inside the toilet tank: If the problem you're experiencing is not due to tank condensation, then the best place to begin is to eliminate the possibility you have water leaking from the tank itself. This is a fairly easy thing to check; remove your toilet tank lid (be very careful, because tank lids are fragile and can be heavy as well as slippery) and add organic-based coloring, such as food coloring, to your toilet tank water. Do NOT flush the tank, but instead wait a little while for the tank water to change color and settle. If after a half-hour or so (without flushing the tank) you find the water on your floor to be that same color as the colored water inside your tank, or if you see any colored drips coming from anywhere on your tank, then you'll know you have water escaping from the toilet's tank since that's the only place you have the colored water.

The next thing to do would be to identify where the water is coming from; any cracks in the porcelain tank should be discolored by the tinted water, and any leaks around the bolts and rubber seals between your tank and bowl or from the foam gasket where the flush valve allows water to enter the bowl should be apparent, as well.

  • Leaking from between the tank and the bowl: This is something you can detect with the colored water test that's described above. If the water appears to be leaking from between the tank and bowl, near the center, you may need a new tank-to-bowl sponge gasket OR new washers for the tank-to-bowl bolts. If the water is leaking past the bolts and washers, the leak often appears to be closer to the sides of the joint between the tank and the bowl, but not always; similarly, a drip from the center of the tank-to-bowl seam does not guarantee the water is leaking past your sponge gasket. To confirm and repair such a leak, it will be necessary for you to remove the tank from the bowl and replace the washers and/or sponge gasket as necessary. This process and the parts required can vary, depending upon your toilet model. Available are fit most"tank-to-bowl sponge gaskets and bolt sets. (If you're changing the tank-to-bowl rubber washers, it would be a good idea to take the opportunity to replace the tank-to-bowl bolts, as well.)
  • Cracks in the tank: Unfortunately, there's no reliable way to repair a crack in a porcelain fixture. It will be necessary for you to replace your toilet tank or install a new complete toilet.

Other Possibilities
Leaking shut-off valve: Make sure water isn't seeping from the pipe connection behind the shut-off valve, near the wall; if it is, the valve may need to be replaced (although it may be possible for you to tighten the valve onto the pipe, depending upon the type of valve and pipe you have).

Leaking supply line: Check for water dripping from the nuts on each end of the supply line, where the line attaches both to the inlet of the toilet's fill valve (on one end of the flex) and the shut-off valve on the wall (at the other end). If you have a rigid supply line, you can try replacing the supply washers. Sometimes the supply line will be attached directly to your shut-off valve as a single piece unit. We recommend using flexible stainless steel water flexes, as they are easier to attach and are very reliable; if you do have the single-piece valve-with-supply-line, we recommend replacing with a separate shut-off valve and a flexible supply line that are two separate pieces.

Water coming from elsewhere in the bathroom: Very often, your toilet will be the lowest fixture in the bathroom; sometimes, water from the shower or the bathtub may pool at your toilet, making it appear as if its coming from the toilet when in fact the cause is much simpler, and less expensive. You can try adding throw rugs to your floors, to see if this eliminates the problem.

And Finally...
Leaking from underneath the toilet: The wastewater should only seep past a bad wax ring if the water is backing up from further down the line. Even when a wax seal is bad, the water that's being flushed through a free drain shouldn't escape past the wax on the closet flange (beneath the toilet) and onto the floor because the water drops straight down, directly from the toilet and down the waste line. If the water on your floor is obviously wastewater (indicated by its coloring and noticeable smell), then your problem is likely more than just a bad wax ring. Although you may not be experiencing a recurring overflow problem with your toilet, the water is still most likely backing up and out through the first point of least resistance instead: from beneath your toilet. Along with resealing your toilet bowl (with a new wax ring and perhaps caulking around the base), we strongly recommend you investigate the possibility of a stoppage in your waste lines, also; if you simply replace the wax ring, you may encounter increased drainage problems with your toilet. The new wax ring may fail if wastewater is continually backing up to it, as well.

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