The toilet doesn't sit flush against the floor at it would appear. It actually sits on top of a wax ring that helps prevent sewage gases from leaking into your home, among other things. Like any other part on your toilet, the wax ring does deteriorate over time and must be replaced every so often. Here's how you can tell when you need one.
Symptoms of a Broken Wax Ring
There are several things that can cause toilet problems, so determining whether the issue is the wax ring or something else can be a little challenging. However, the ring may be the source of the problem if your toilet suddenly develops the following symptoms:
- Water leakage from under or condensation around the bottom of the toilet
- A dark circle around the base of the toilet indicating either water under the floor or mold growth
- A smell like rotten eggs flowing from the toilet area, which means the wax ring is letting sewer gas into your home
- Water spots on the ceiling directly below the bathroom, which indicates a leak
- The toilet moves around or wobbles when you sit on it
With this last issue, a wobbly toilet most like indicates the flange is broken. However, the wax ring must be replaced at the same time as the flange. So even if it's only the flange, you'll still need to purchase a new wax ring to complete the repair.
Fixing the Issue
Replacing a wax ring is a fairly simple repair; though it can become increasingly difficult and expensive the longer you wait because of the damage leaking water can do to your home. You can purchase the part from a local plumbing or home improvement store for anywhere from $3 to $10. Then it's just a matter of moving the toilet, discarding the old wax ring and putting in the new one.
Be certain to turn off the water first using either the valve near the toilet or the entire supply line to the house before attempting this repair. You will also definitely want to ensure the area is well ventilated and open a few windows in your house since removing the toilet will allow sewage fumes to flow freely through your home while you're making the repairs. Additionally, toilets are very heavy, so you will need to have someone help you move it or use a dolly.
For more information about replacing the wax ring on your toilet or help with other plumbing repairs, contact a local plumber.