Step by Step Instructions on How to Replace a Toilet Wax Ring
By Mark J. Donovan
|Are you seeing a small puddle of water form around the base of your toilet after your flush it? Or, is there a bad smell that seams to be frequently present in your bathroom, even when no one has used the bathroom for long periods of time? If so then chances are the toilet wax ring has failed. What is a toilet wax ring? As the name suggests it’s a thick 1 to 2 inch ring of wax that sits underneath the toilet bowl and that normally forms a water and air tight seal between the toilet bowl and the toilet flange. The toilet flange is a PVC or cast iron pipe opening in the bathroom floor where the toilet waste water goes.
When the toilet is flushed waste water from the toilet bowl flows through the toilet flange and into the plumbing drain system.
At the base of the toilet wax ring is a funnel shaped piece of plastic. This plastic funnel shape helps to guide the toilet wax ring onto the toilet flange.
So what causes a toilet wax ring to fail? If the bathroom floor, which upon the toilet sits, is not completely flat the toilet will rock when people sit on it. Overtime this rocking motion can cause the toilet wax ring to break down and eventually fail. When it does fail, every time someone flushes the toilet a small amount of waste water seeps through it as the toilet bowl empties into the toilet flange and drain system. This seepage shows up around the base of the toilet. Also, because the toilet wax ring is no longer water or air tight, sewer gases can drift up and out around the base of the toilet. As a result, a constant foul odor in the bathroom can be smelled.
Then remove any residual water from the toilet tank using a large towel and a bucket.
Once the toilet tank is empty disconnect the toilet supply line from the base of the toilet tank using a pair of channel lock pliers.
If you can be careful, you can leave the toilet tank attached to the toilet bowl to speed up changing the toilet wax ring. My directions below assume you will.
Lay a couple of large towels on the bathroom floor near the toilet.
Using a putty knife scrape off the old toilet wax ring. Make sure you are thorough in removing any residual wax from the old ring. Also remove any wax ring material from the toilet flange area and the adjacent bathroom floor area.
|Now, firmly push the new toilet wax ring into place around the base of the toilet bowl opening. You’ll notice there is a lip around the toilet bowl opening that forms a natural guide for the placement of the toilet wax ring.
With the new toilet wax ring in place carefully lift the toilet tank and bowl up and put them back into place over the toilet flange. Make sure to line up the toilet anchor bolts with the two openings in the base of the toilet bowl as you place the toilet.
After placing the toilet back onto the toilet flange, gently rock and push down on the toilet bowl to properly seat the toilet wax ring. Even sit on the toilet to help to firmly seat the toilet bowl.
Once you’re convinced yourself the toilet is seated properly and is flush with the bathroom floor re-attach the nuts to the toilet anchor bolts using a crescent wrench. Make sure not to over-tighten the nuts or else you could crack the toilet bowl.
Now connect the toilet supply line back to the base of the toilet bowl. Use your channel lock pliers to gently tighten the nut that holds the line in place.
Lastly, turn the toilet water supply line back on and observe that the toilet tank fills up. When the toilet tank is full, flush the toilet and check to see if there are no leaks around the base of the toilet bowl. Repeat this step a couple of more times. With any luck you’ll find you’ve successfully changed a toilet wax ring.
One final note, any time you need to temporarily remove a toilet, e.g. installing a bathroom ceramic tile floor, always reinstall the toilet with a new toilet wax ring.
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Additional Plumbing Resources from Amazon.com
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