Ask Vince #9 Toilet, toilet seal, leaks
Toilet, toilet seal, leaks
QUESTION: About two years ago, I discovered that the toilet in my main bathroom was leaking. In January 2003 I removed the toilet and found that the leaking seal had ruined the particle board. I removed all the damaged board and hired a contractor to replace the flooring with marine plywood. New vinyl flooring and a new toilet seal were installed. Six months later an annual termite inspection revealed that the toilet seal was seeping. The contractor returned to replace the double toilet seal. The termite inspection in May 2004 revealed again that the toilet seal was seeping. I hired a different contractor to replace the seal but upon periodic inspecting, I find there is some moisture. That’s three toilet seals in a year and a half. What can be done? Albert Gonzalez, Roseville
ANSWER: “Replacing leaking toilet seals is a common task,” says Vince McDonald, owner of McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Sacramento. “The likelihood that all of the technicians failed to perform the task properly is somewhat remote, especially if the workers were journeymen plumbers. If the plumbing drain is in good condition and properly installed, yet the toilet continues to leak after it has been reset several times, the likelihood is that the toilet is bad,” McDonald says, and he recommends replacing it.
More Information on Replacing a Toilet Seal in Your Sacramento Home or Office
The seal, on the bottom of a toilet, where it rests on the floor, is a gasket made of a ring of wax. You can buy a replacement at a hardware store. But, it’s a large job for most people and you probably want to contact a plumber to replace your seal. This inexpensive seal can help prevent damage to flooring and sub-flooring…expensive items to repair if a leak is not repaired right away. Be sure to do this procedure when the temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit so the wax will be pliable. If you are replacing a leaky seal on an existing toilet, you will want to wear rubber gloves and follow these instructions: Part 1
- Be sure to shut off the water supply. You might be able to do this at the toilet, but you mightneed go into the crawl space or basement to cut off the water.
- Flush the toilet once or twice to empty the tank and bowl.
- Use a sponge to soak up and remove any remaining water in the tank and bowl
- Remove the caps over the nuts that hold the base of the bowl to the floor.
- Remove the nuts. You might need to use penetrating oil and pliers.
- Disconnect the water supply line.
- Gently rock the toilet back and forth to break the seal and any caulking present. Use care to grip the bowl and not the tank. If you grab the tank, you could break or crack the tank where it is bolted to the bowl.
- Remove the remnants of the old seal from both mating surfaces. Go to Part 2.
- Unwrap the new wax seal, and place it over the flange on the floor with the round side up, exactly centered over the opening. Be sure both bolts are in place.
- Lift the toilet and place it over the flange and seal, keeping the toilet as level as possible.
- Sit on the toilet to help the new seal do its actual sealing.
- Ensure the bowl is level.
- Replace the nuts removed earlier. Tighten the nuts by hand to avoid cracking the base of the bowl.
- Reconnect water line.
- Turn on water supply to let tank fill. You can turn the water supply on part way to let the tank fill with lower pressure. This will take a bit longer, but the part-way setting helps prevent the dreaded “Who just flushed?” scream from another household member that may be scalded in the shower because of a surge in the cold water going into the toilet tank.
- Flush and check for leaks.
- Apply silicone caulk as needed to junction of bowl and floor.
- Wash hands with an anti-bacterial soap.
Contact McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Sacramento to Replace Your Toilet Seal
Since 1957 McDonald Plumbing, Heating Air Conditioning has been replacing toilet seals for Sacramento residents and businesses. We also serve Sacramento and the surrounding communities with a full line of plumbing, heating and air conditioning repairs such as tankless and regular water heater installation and repair, air conditioning installation and repair, home energy audits, home comfort systems, sewer and drain cleaning, sewer and water line repair and repair of slab leaks.
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of government of Sacramento County. It is at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California’s expansive Central Valley. With an estimated 2011 population of 477,891, it is the sixth-largest city in California and the 35th largest city in the United States. Sacramento is the core cultural and economic center of the Sacramento metropolitan area which includes seven counties with an estimated 2009 population of 2,527,123. Its metropolitan area is the fourth largest in California after the Greater Los Angeles Area, San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area, as well as the 27th largest in the United States. In 2002, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University conducted for TIME magazine named Sacramento “America’s Most Diverse City.