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When Should the Wax Ring Around the Toilet Base be Replaced?

At first this may seem like a simple question to answer, but in reality, it can be a little more complex and there are a few things to understand. In this article, we will examine this topic in more depth to help you make an informed decision.

What is the Toilet Wax Ring?

Before we begin, it’s important to explain what a toilet wax ring is and how it works. Each toilet in your home is installed on a wax ring that surrounds the base of the fixture. This wax ring connects the toilet to the plumbing system with a waterproof seal. This ensures that waste that is flushed down the toilet enters the sewer and that it cannot seep out at the base of the unit. Under normal conditions, a wax seal can last for the entire useful lifespan of the toilet which could be up to 30 years. But, this wax seal can become dry and it may crumble under certain conditions. If this happens, the integrity of the toilet can be compromised and this could cause a leak of sewage onto the toilet floor.

How Do I Install a New Wax Toilet Ring?

When the wax ring fails, it cannot be repaired and a replacement is necessary. New wax rings are readily available online or at your nearest home improvement store. If you are unsure about handling tools, it’s a good idea to contact your local professional plumber and they will do it for you. If you want to attempt a replacement yourself, there are a few things you need in advance, they are a fresh wax ring, a putty knife, a wet/dry vacuum, a wrench, a bucket and some old towels to mop up any mess.

The first step is to disconnect the water supply to the toilet where you are working. The water lines are usually located on a nearby wall and they need to be turned to the “Off” position. There will still be water left in the storage tank and the bowl and this can be removed with the wet/dry vacuum. Any remaining water can be mopped up with an old towel or two. When the water has been removed, reach into the water tank and disconnect the water supply line.

Now that the area is dry, it’s time to remove the toilet, uncover the bolts around the base and set the caps aside. Use the wrench to remove the bolts and the toilet can be rocked until it comes loose from the existing wax ring. When the toilet is free, it’s time to lift it out of position and it should be set aside to keep it safe. Use the putty knife to scrape away the old wax at the flange and around the bottom of the toilet base. If the flange is damaged, it’s time to call your local plumber because it may be impossible to create a seal with the new wax ring.

Now you can install the new wax toilet ring using the instructions that come with it. When you have the wax ring in place, you can put the toilet on top and align the bolt holes. Then bolt the toilet into position, replace the caps and you’re done. To test the seal, move your weight around on the toilet seat and it should stay firm and in place. Examine the base of the toilet, it should be flush with the floor with no visible gaps.

If you have any problems with your toilet wax ring, contact your local licensed and certified plumber today.