It is always an unpleasant surprise when your toilet leaks, as it can cause a rather big mess and in some cases – even water damage.
This is one of those issues you don’t want to take too long to fix; luckily, solving it usually doesn’t require too much time or effort.
Below, we will discuss the best ways to troubleshoot the toilet pipe and find the cause of the leaking, so you can not only fix the pipe but prevent any future leaks in your bathroom.
Why is your toilet leaking from a pipe?
A leaky toilet is an issue that can be caused by several factors.
We will focus on the most common reasons behind a leaking toilet pipe, which will also help you prevent this issue in the future.
Loose toilet bolts
One of the most common problems behind a leaky toilet pipe is loose bolts.
If your bowl is wobbling or shifted, this could be the problem.
The bolts holding it in place can loosen over time due to changes in temperature or humidity.
In addition, if your wax ring is old or damaged, it may not be creating a proper seal, allowing water to escape.
The role of the bolts is to keep the bowl tight against the wax ring.
The bolts go through the flange holes, which are mounted on top of the drain pipe.
The flange is held in place with two large nuts.
If any of these components are loose, it can cause a leak.
Tightening the bolts may fix the problem, but if they are too loose, it may cause the bowl to crack and the toilet bowl will need to be replaced.
Wax ring issue
The role of a wax ring in the toilet is to provide a seal between the toilet bowl and the drain pipe.
The wax ring seals the hole in the bottom of the toilet so that water cannot leak out.
When you flush the toilet, the water pressure forces the water down through the hole and the wax ring provides a tight seal around it.
Over time, however, the wax can become hard and brittle and it may crack or break, making it necessary to replace the wax ring.
If your toilet pipe is leaking, there could be a problem with the wax ring.
To determine if the wax ring is the problem, inspect the area around the base of your toilet for any signs of water leakage.
The wax ring may be to blame if you see any water on the floor.
Misaligned pipes and valves
Another reason behind a leaky toilet pipe is misaligned pipes and valves.
This can lead to a waterlogged surrounding, which in turn causes the pipes to break.
What’s more, if there is any sediment buildup in the valves or pipes, it will act as a barrier and restrict water flow.
This can again cause immense pressure on the pipes, leading to their rupture.
Cracked toilet tank
A leak could also happen due to a cracked toilet tank.
When you notice that your toilet is leaking, you should check the tank for any cracks.
If there are cracks, you will probably need to replace the tank.
A cracked toilet tank can cause a lot of damage to your bathroom and home, so it is essential to solve this problem as soon as possible.
How to fix a toilet leaking from a pipe
While certain toilet issues will definitely be a task for a plumber, others can be easily solved, even if you’ve never done anything similar before.
These are several of the easiest and most effective methods of fixing a leaky toilet and making sure to prevent any water damage.
1. Fix loose toilet bolts
Loose bolts could be the reason your toilet is leaking.
You’ll need to remove the toilet and tighten the bolts to fix this issue.
You’ll need a toilet wrench to tighten the bolts on your toilet.
Look for a small hole in the back of the tank and insert the end of the wrench.
Then, turn the wrench handle clockwise to tighten the bolt.
If you’re having trouble reaching the bolt, try using a long-handled wrench.
Toilet wrenches come in different sizes, so choosing one that fits the bolt snugly is essential.
A wrench that is too large may slip and damage the plumbing.
If it’s too small, you won’t be able to get a good grip on the bolt.
Once the bolt is tight, flush the toilet to ensure no leaks.
Then, remove the wrench and store it in a safe place.
To replace a toilet bolt, turn off the water supply before removing the old bolt.
Then, cut through the bolt using a hacksaw.
Once the bolt is removed, clean up any rust or debris before installing the new bolt.
Use a screwdriver to remove the two screws holding the bolt.
Next, use a wrench to loosen the nut that holds the bolt.
Finally, pull the old bolt out with a pair of pliers.
Now that you have removed the old bolt, you can install the new one.
To do this, insert the new bolt into the hole in the back of the toilet.
Next, use a wrench to tighten the nut that holds the bolt.
Finally, screw the two screws back into place using a screwdriver.
2. Replace the wax ring
To replace your toilet’s wax ring, you’ll need to remove the toilet from the floor.
Turn off the water to your toilet and flush it to empty the bowl.
Disconnect the water supply line from the back of your toilet.
Remove any caulk or sealant around the base of your toilet using a putty knife.
Now remove the two bolts that hold down your toilet.
You may need a Phillips screwdriver or a flathead screwdriver, depending on the type of bolts you have.
Gently rock your toilet back and forth until it comes loose from the wax ring and lift it straight up to remove it.
Clean off the wax ring residue from both the toilet flange and the bottom of your toilet.
You can use a putty knife, a wire brush or even sandpaper to do this.
Just make sure to remove all the old wax residue before moving on.
To install the new ring, center the wax ring on the toilet flange and press it down, so it’s snug.
Ensure the rubber seal is facing up to create a good seal when you put the toilet back in place.
Replace your toilet by carefully lowering it back down onto the wax ring.
Press down gently around the entire toilet’s circumference to ensure that it’s sealed properly.
Reconnect the water supply line and ensure you’ve turned on the water.
Flush your toilet several times to ensure there are no leaks.
Finally, replace the two bolts you removed earlier and tighten them down with a screwdriver.
3. Check if the pipes and valves are aligned
To check if the toilet pipes and valves are correctly aligned, unscrew the tank’s lid and check that the flush valve is appropriately positioned in the center of the overflow tube.
If not, realign it by gently pushing or pulling on the valve until it is.
Also, check that the fill valve is pushed down; if it isn’t, push it down until it is.
If the flush and fill valves are in the correct position, check to see if the chain connecting the two is too long.
If the chain is too long, it will prevent the fill valve from shutting off properly, causing the tank to overflow.
Shorten the chain by hooking it onto a lower link on the flush lever to fix this.
If you notice the toilet still overflows after following these steps, the problem may be with the flapper.
The flapper is a rubber or plastic disk covering the hole at the bottom of the tank and allows water to enter the bowl when flushed.
Over time, the flapper can become warped or brittle and may not seal properly, allowing water to leak into the bowl.
To fix this, replace the flapper with a new one.
If none of the mentioned methods seem to help, you may need to contact a plumber to come and inspect the pipes.
There could be a blockage somewhere that is causing the water to back up and overflow.
4. Replace the cracked toilet tank
To fix a cracked toilet tank causing the pipe to leak, you will need to remove the old tank and install a new one.
The first step is to shut off the water supply to the toilet by shutting off the valve behind the toilet.
Next, flush the toilet to empty the tank of water.
Use a sponge or rag to soak up any remaining water in the tank.
With the tank empty, you can remove it by unscrewing the bolts that secure it in place.
Once the old tank is out, clean up any residue left behind and dry the area.
Take your new toilet tank, set it in place and then screw it in using the same bolts as the old one.
Finally, turn on the water supply and flush the toilet to test it out.