Does a Leaking Toilet Always Require a Plumber?

You stumble out of bed and into the bathroom. It’s the start of another workday. You are thinking about everything on your to-do list when you glance down and notice water at the base of your toilet. That’s not good. In addition to a full schedule, now it looks like you’ll have to coordinate plumbing repairs. Not so fast. That may not be the case at all.

Several things could cause water to pool around the base of a toilet. Not all of them are serious enough to warrant calling in a plumber. Of course, you may not have any desire to deal with the problem on your own. So it’s nice to know what types of toilet problems require professional service as opposed to those that don’t.

1. Simple Condensation

The first possible cause is really not a problem at all. Depending on where you live, the amount of moisture in the air, and the ambient temperature inside your home, the water at the base of your toilet could be nothing more than the result of condensation. Better yet, there is a very easy way to find out.

Grab some bath towels or paper towels and soak up all the water. Next, flush the toilet. If no water pools around the base of the toilet, it is not leaking. The problem is the result of condensation. You might even see condensation on the outside of the toilet bowl. Just leave some towels around the toilet until the moisture level and temperature inside your home balance out. That should be the end of it.

2. Leaky Plumbing

The cause of your problem could be leaks with any of the plumbing connections. There are three connections to worry about:

  • The water line (where it connects to the toilet)
  • The fill valve connection
  • The seal between tank and bowl.

If there is a problem with the seal between tank and bowl, that is not something you are going to be able to handle on your own. You’ll either need to call in a plumber or replace the toilet completely. If the issue is one of the other two connections, you should be able to handle them. Try tightening them first. If that doesn’t work, disconnect the leaking connection, apply some plumber’s tape, and reconnect.

3. Bad Toilet Seal

There is a wax seal in between the base of your toilet and the floor. If this seal begins to degrade, water can leak from the base of the toilet with every flush. You don’t necessarily need to bring in a licensed plumber for this job, but you also might not want to handle it on your own. It requires actually pulling up the toilet to replace the seal, which can be a bit of a task if you’ve never done it before.

4. Tank or Bowl Crack

The final possibility is that your toilet tank or bowl is cracked. Salt City Plumbing, a licensed plumbing contractor in Salt Lake City, Utah, says there is no practical way to fix cracks in the porcelain. If you’ve got a crack, the toilet will have to be replaced.

You can buy a new toilet at the hardware store and install it yourself. You can also have a licensed plumber take care of it for you. In either case, replacing the toilet shouldn’t take more than an hour or so. It is a pretty straightforward task.

Finding water at the base of your toilet obviously isn’t optimal. But it may not be a big problem, either. Most leaking toilets can be fixed pretty easily.