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If there is water around the base of your toilet, then you have a leak in your toilet — most likely around the base of the fixture. In many instances, you can fix the leak yourself. You will want to do that immediately though as this water can damage your flooring and cause mold if left sitting for a long period of time. Backed up toilet water can create a health hazard in your bathroom if not cleaned up thoroughly with disinfectant after the leak is fixed.

Finding the Problem

Water pooling around the base of the toilet is a good indication that the wax seal has failed. But in some cases the problem lies elsewhere. Soak up the water from the floor with a sponge and dry off the toilet with a towel. Wait until a new puddle appears on the floor, then check to make sure the water is seeping out from under the toilet and not coming from a loose supply tube, faulty shutoff valve or cracked tank.

You may be able to fix the leak yourself by tightening the toilet’s tee bolts and/or replacing its wax ring:

Tightening the Bolts

If water is leaking from beneath the toilet, you might be able to stop it by simply tightening the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. Use a putty knife or slotted screwdriver to pry off the caps that are covering the bolts. Then use a wrench to alternately tighten each bolt, a little at a time. Be careful not to apply too much pressure; you can crack the toilet’s base.


If you’re lucky, the leak will stop. If tightening the bolts doesn’t help, you’ll have to remove the toilet and replace the wax gasket.

Replacing the Wax Ring

If your tee bolts are tight but you still have a leak at your toilet’s base, you may need to replace its wax ring. First, take a photo of your toilet’s base to use as reference when you ask for help to identify the ring you need at your local hardware store.

When you are ready to replace the ring, shut off the water flow to your toilet using the valve located behind it. Flush the toilet to remove as much water in the bowl as possible. Then, place a bucket under the valve to catch any overflow that may happen when you unscrew the nut holding the valve in place. Next, remove any remaining water from the toilet’s base by plunging it a few times.

Unscrew the toilet’s water supply line and remove the tee bolts from the floor so that the toilet can be lifted and moved. Once you set the toilet down on its side, you can easily remove its wax ring and any accompanying residue before placing the new ring over the toilet’s flange. Secure the tee bolts in place and put your toilet back in its place.

Reinstalling Your Toilet

Once the toilet is in position, push it onto the wax ring so that it seals. Tighten the tee bolts, reconnect your water line, and turn the valve back on. Flush the toilet to test for any leaks. Replace the caulk around the toilet’s base to ensure that water from elsewhere in the bathroom does not get under its base and cause odors and mold.

West Coast Sanitation Can Help

We know that toilet leaks present an immediate challenge that must be handled quickly and professionally. With years of experience, the West Coast Sanitation team of professionals is ready to assist with your plumbing needs. If you need help servicing your septic system, don’t wait to take action. Call us at (951) 780-5922 right away. We have professionals ready to answer your questions and get your system working properly again.