How to Tell If a Toilet Wax Ring Is Bad

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

The wax ring of a toilet creates a soft seal between some of the components of the toilet system. Most of the time, a toilet is made of porcelain. There is an exit hold at the bottom of the toilet on the flange, which is set on top of the drainpipe. The flange is usually made of polyvinyl plastic or cast iron, and a broken wax ring can cause a number of problems. Read on to learn how to tell if your toilet wax ring is bad.

Look for Water Stains or Leaks

The first way to find out if your wax ring is bad is to look for water leaking from the base of the toilet. You can check the floor around the toilet. If there are bits of water that are there from time to time, this is a sign that your wax ring could be bad. If your toilet is on a second floor, you can check the ceiling below it. You might find water stains showing moisture above the ceiling. This is another way to tell if the toilet wax ring is going bad and allowing water to leak.

The wax ring provides an airtight seal that ensures that water and waste from the toilet go directly into the drain. You will need to replace the wax ring if it has been compromised. Before you remove the toilet from the base, make sure that the leak isn’t coming from the t-bolts or the tank above.

Do You Smell Unpleasant Odors?

Your toilet is on top of the drain, which leads directly to the sewer. There is nothing obstructing the path from the toilet to the septic or sewage system below. If your wax ring is going bad and is not providing the airtight seal, you might smell unpleasant odors.

Gases rise, and sewer gases normally contain hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells similar to rotten eggs. When your wax ring goes bad, these gases can make their way into your home. The wax ring can harden and break over time, so if you smell a very unpleasant odor without another explanation, your wax ring may be ready for replacement.

Does Your Toilet Wobble in Place?

If you notice that your toilet wobbles when you sit on it, it likely has a broken flange. Unfortunately, when you replace the flange, you need to replace the wax ring at the same time. The problem is that if the flange is broken, the wax ring has been compromised as well. The wax ring is fragile enough that moving around will cause stress to it, and you will want to avoid future problems by replacing it right away.

You can replace the wax ring fairly easily. You should turn off the water supply first. Then, flush your toilet until it is completely empty. You may need a wet vac to make sure that there is no water left in the bowl or the tank. You will find the water supply connected to the base, and you should disconnect it. You can unscrew the t-bolts. Now you can jiggle the toilet to loosen it and remove it.

Turn the toilet on its side, and use a putty knife or something similar to remove the wax ring. You can follow the instructions on the package to put the new wax ring in place. Lift the toilet back onto the drain, and screw the t-bolts back in. Reconnect the water lines, and turn the water on. Now, you can flush the toilet to make sure that it is functioning properly.

If you find any signs that your wax ring has gone bad, you need to replace it right away, You definitely do not want the dirty water to leak onto your floor, and the odor from the gases is pretty awful.

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