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Home Maintenance Tip: Warning Signs Your Toilet Needs Repair

Posted on December 26, 2014

Toilets are a necessity in every home and have an unlimited life expectancy. However, components inside the toilet tank can fail. Also, the original installation may not have been ideal and cause problems down the road. Fortunately, there are warning signs that allow you to catch some toilet problems early before there is a more costly repair. Hereā€™s what you can do:

Inspect the following locations in all your bathrooms:

  • Check for water on the floor around the toilet.
  • Check the caulk at the base of the toilet to see if it has loosened.
  • Check for water drops where the toilet tank attaches to the toilet bowl or on the floor below.
  • Check for water or water marks underneath the water shut-off valves at the wall.
  • Check the ceiling beneath a 2nd story toilet for water marks.
  • Check the porcelain toilet bowl and tank for cracks.

This inspection should be performed on a regular basis such as when the toilets are cleaned or at least monthly. Note whether any water is clear or has a brown or orange tint. A tint could indicate rust or even a sewage leak. Signs of clear water may not indicate a problem. For example, condensation could be forming on the toilet when the water in the toilet tank and bowl are very cold and the air in the bathroom is very warm.

The toilet tank should be securely fastened to the toilet bowl. There should be no movement either front to back or left to right. If a leak is coming from this location, the toilet tank bolts may need to be tightened. Alternatively, there could be deteriorating components inside the toilet tank.

Toilets should be securely fastened to the floor and should not move at all. Wax rings are used to seal the toilet flange to the floor to prevent sewage waste and odor from seeping out at this location. If the toilet rocks from side to side or if there is a wobble, then there is a problem. The toilet may not be sitting flush at the floor indicating a problem during installation or misuse. Over time, this movement in the toilet will cause the wax ring to deteriorate and sewage to leak.

The leak may or may not be noticeable at the toilet bowl. But, if there is movement at the toilet, then the leak is occurring at the subfloor. You want to catch this problem early. If this type of leak continues for a long time, the subfloor underneath can rot requiring an extensive and expensive repair.

If you notice any of these problems, call your licensed plumbing contractor to take care of these issues right away. The sooner you address these problems, the better.

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