Moisture accumulation around the base of your toilet can cause damage to your floor, and perhaps even the ceiling on the floor below. This is not a problem you should ignore, but the good news is that the cause of moisture accumulation around the toilet is almost always simple to address. In many cases, you'll be able to fix the problem yourself, and even if you do have to call a plumber, he or she should be able to make the necessary repairs quite easily.
Here's a look at three possible causes of moisture accumulation around the toilet, and how to fix each one.
A leak at the water inlet.
Look for the main pipe that brings water into the toilet. Do you see any water dripping from the place where it joins the toilet? Often, this moisture trickles down the pipe or toilet and accumulates on the floor around the toilet, but upon closer examination, you realize it's coming from the pipe and not the base of the toilet.
If you do spot a leak where the inlet pipe joins the toilet, try tightening the coupling nuts. You may need to use vice grips to do so. If this does not fix the leak, call a plumber. The washers and gaskets between the pipe and toilet likely need replacing.
A crack in the toilet bowl or tank.
If the inlet pipe is dry, take a look around the rest of the tank and bowl. Do you see any places where water is beading up or accumulating? Toilet bowls and tanks can crack, especially after years of wear and tear. The best solution is usually to replace the entire tank or bowl.
You can probably replace a toilet tank yourself as long as you have a screwdriver, wrench, and a friend around to help. After purchasing a new tank, turn the water off to your toilet and bail all of the water out of the old tank. Unfasten the tank by unscrewing the two bolts found inside on the tank's bottom surface. Pick the old tank up off of the toilet bowl, and then put the new tank in its place. Tighten the bolts inside, and connect the tank's handle to the flapper chain.
If the leak is in the bowl portion, you're better off calling a plumber, since replacing a toilet bowl is much more involved than replacing the tank.
A leaky wax seal.
If you can't find a leak in the toilet or the pipe leading to it, then the moisture around the toilet is probably due to a weak or broken wax seal. The wax seal is found between the toilet bowl and the floor, and is meant to keep water from seeping out of this junction. A leaky wax seal must be replaced, and since this job involves removing the whole toilet bowl, it's generally best left to a plumber.
Even if there is only a small amount of moisture building up around your toilet, it's important to act promptly. What starts as a small leak from a crack, an inlet pipe, or the wax seal can quickly become larger and more damaging if not addressed. (For more information, contact Steve Burke Plumbing, LLC)