Toilet Seal Leak Detection, Diagnosis, & Repair Guide
LEAKY TOILET SEALS, ODORS - CONTENTS: How to Diagnose & Repair Toilets with Leaky Seals, Odors, Leaks into Floors or Ceilings. Odors traced to bad toilet seal or wax bowl ring. How to replace a toilet seal or wax ring. When to replace a toilet seal or wax bowl ring. Sewer gas odors in buildings traced to loose or leaky toilet drains. How to repair problems causing plumbing drain sounds
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Toilet wax rings & seals - leak repair guide: Here we explain how to detect and repair loose, leaky toilet base seals - why the wax ring seal is critical for sanitary toilet function and how to spot and fix a leak. We explain how to diagnose and repair problems with toilets, leaks, flushes, odors, noises, running and wasted water.
Our page top photo shows ugly staining in a toilet bowl - strong evidence that this toilet has been running, wasting water, possibly flooding the septic system, and sometimes giving bad flush performance as well. Details are below.This article series TOILET REPAIR GUIDE discusses the cause, diagnosis, and repair of toilet problems (water closet problems) such as a toilet that does not flush well, clogged toilets, slow-filling toilets, running toilets, loose wobbly toilets, and odors at leaky toilets.
Odors in Bathrooms Traced to Leaky Toilet Seals or Loose Toilets
Clogged, partly clogged, slow drains or a partly-blocked, failing drainfield can also cause odors when
the surge of water from the washer causes a gas backup in the system. We discuss how to track down the source of sewer gas or septic odors atSEWER GAS ODORS and SEWER GAS ODORS in COLD WEATHER. Also see Diagnosing Clogged Drains for more detailed
advice along that problem path.
But often we have traced a sewer gas odor in a building to two types of toilet drain connection and leak problems
Loose toilets - if your toilet wobbles on the floor it is unsafe and unsanitary.
The wobbling has compressed the wax ring intended to seal the toilet to the waste pipe, permitting sewer gases to enter the building at the toilet base, and risking leaks of sewage and water into the structure.
We have even found termite damage and rot at floors where loose toilets went un-repaired for too long.
Check for leaks at the toilet base - you may see stains on the floor at the base of the toilet (photo at left), or in severe cases the floor may be wet or the tile or flooring may be damaged.
Don't forget to check for leak stains in the ceilings of rooms located below the toilet as well.
Secure toilets with leaky wax ring seal - even if the toilet does not wobble on the floor, its wax ring may be inadequately sealing the toilet to the main drain waste pipe flange in the floor. Perhaps the wax ring was not installed properly, misaligned, or even omitted.
Or the toilet sealing wax ring may have been previously compressed by a loose wobbly toilet that was "repaired" simply by tightening the bolts securing the toilet to the floor, leaving the squashed old wax ring in place.
Septic additives like Rid-x™ won't fix a problem with building vents nor sewer odors,
and are generally not recommended anyway - see Additives & Chemicals for septic system maintenance. Are septic products needed? Are septic treatments legal?
At page bottom you will find a list of toilet trouble diagnosis and repair articles. Actually most toilet problems are fixed easily and right at the toilet by a simple adjustment, while others may not be the toilet's fault at all, and may need more thoughtful diagnosis and repair.
Taking off the toilet tank top: Some of these simple toilet diagnosis steps require that you look into the toilet flush tank on the back of the toilet.
Just lift the top off of the toilet tank and set it carefully aside on the floor where you won't break it or trip over it.
If you leave the tank top on the toilet seat (as we did for this photo) you're asking for trouble, and also, it's a bit in the way.
Our sketch below shows the parts you'll see inside the toilet tank. You may want to refer back to this drawing while reading the details of each class if individual toilet problems listed above and how they are detected, diagnosed, and repaired.
Readers should also see TOILET TYPES, CONTROLS, PARTS This article describes and illustrate the different types of toilets found in buildings. Citation of this article by reference to this website and brief quotation for the sole purpose of review are permitted. Use of this information at other websites, in books or pamphlets for sale is reserved to the author. Also see WHAT CAN GO INTO TOILETS & DRAINS?.
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Questions & answers or comments about diagnosis & repair of sewer gas or sulphur smells in bathrooms and at toilets
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 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, U.S. Department of Justice, 28 CFR Part 36, Revised as of July 1, 1994, excerpts; web search 5/10/12, original source: http://www.ada.gov/stdspdf.htm [copy on file as ADA_Standards_1994.pdf]
 Alliance for Water Efficiency, 300 W Adams Street, Suite 601
Chicago, Illinois 60606, Tel: 866-730-A4WE, Website: http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/ Quoting:
The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a stakeholder-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water. Located in Chicago, the Alliance serves as a North American advocate for water efficient products and programs, and provides information and assistance on water conservation efforts.
 OSHA toilet standards: OSHA's sanitation standard for general industry, 29 CFR 1910.141(c)(l)(i), specifies taht employers shall provide toilet facilities for their employees. Web-search 5/10/12, original source:
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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