This month I had an issue with my plumbing that I’d like to share with you here. I think that this information might be able to help someone who has something similar going on.
We have a vacation home that is a cabin on stills. This matters because the plumbing is not underground, which actually made things a lot easier for us to figure out what to do.
The problem was that when we would flush the toilet, dirty water would leak out of the base of the toilet and stream out onto the floor in the bathroom. This was obviously gross and unsanitary. It wasn’t clean water from the tank, but was dirty water from after having used the toilet.
The bottom of the toilet is caulked to the floor. So, not knowing what I was doing, I just caulked it again. This looked like it worked. If you know anything about plumbing, you know it eventually failed. The caulking broke and the dirty water came streaming out all over the bathroom floor, which is made of wood. If it was tile or something else it might not have been as bad. Wood, though, can swell and warp if it’s exposed to too much water, further increasing the urgency of the situation.
After looking up some information online about what could be causing this, I saw that it might be the wax toilet ring underneath the toilet. The bottom of the toilet connects to the pipe in the floor and that wax ring gives it a nice seal. Or at least it did. The wax ring was likely broken and that was what was causing the leak.
So, I went off to Lowe’s to buy a new toilet ring and came back and installed it. It worked fine for a few days. Then, the same thing started to happen again! By now I’m getting frustrated. I thought I fixed the problem. Everything was working great and then the same thing occurs. These small projects are pretty easy to handle by yourself. If you have anything bigger, I recommend using a professional master plumber like Forthright Plumbing LLC.
I go and buy another one at the hardware store, unscrew the toilet, pull it up, put the new one on and put everything back together. This works fine again for a few days, and then the leak happens again. By now I’m losing my patience with this.
The wax ring is supposed to provide a waterproof seal so that this doesn’t happen. The first one was broken which can happen over time. No problem. I replaced it and it broke. Then it happened again with the second one.
I decide to skip the searching and do a little sleuthing on my own this time. I put on a headlamp so I can see under the toilet and saw that the toilet would wobble a bit. I thought about how this might be breaking the wax seal. Even though I screwed the toilet down properly, that uneven wood floor was keeping it from being flush against the floor. This would explain why the toilet would work fine for a few days and then start leaking later. The wax seal would hold for a while. But, eventually, the toilet would rock back and forth enough to where the seal would break and we’re back at square one. That’s probably how the seal broke in the first place.
I then went under the cabin to see what I could detect under there. I asked my wife to flush the toilet while I looked underneath to see what was happening. Dirty toilet water was pilling all down onto the ground. That reveals it. Even after I repaired the toilet the bottom was not properly sealed against the PVC pipe in the floor. The toilet ring worked for a while, but it would break after some use because of the uneven floor.
I went back to the store to see if there was something else besides was I could use. I turns out that they now make a toilet ring made of plastic and rubber. So now it won’t break due to rocking caused by uneven floors. And, anything else that might cause the seal to break is no longer a problem. This thing holds in place just fine.
I took it home, installed it and have not had any problems since. The toilet flushes fine. There is no streaming water inside getting all over and warping my wood floor. There’s no spilling onto the ground outside. The toilet just flushes and sends everything straight to the septic tank like it should.