Frugal Tip – Fixing your mistakes, instead of letting them compound

We’ve noticed some stains around the base of our downstairs toilet, and after doing a little research, it turns out this is a sign of water leakage. I had just changed out this toilet last year, so I was a little disappointed – it meant that I had not done the install correctly.

So I watched a couple of videos online and referred back to a few of my books – then took the plunge. The initial thing to check was the wax seal, which goes around the flange on the floor, and the toilet “seals” to. This is usually where the system fails and the leak begins.

Tools you will need:

  1. Wrench, 11mm or 7/16” (or adjustable wrench)
  2. Scraper (to clean off old wax seal)
  3. Towels
  4. Rubber or Nitrex gloves
  5. New Toilet bowl wax ring (Typically $2 – $3)

In order to do this, you have to do the following steps:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the toilet (typically a knob to turn near the floor on the left or right back of the toilet, which feeds to the tank
  2. Flush the toilet and then drain the tank and toilet (you can use a wet/dry vac, or just a sponge & bucket – which is what I used). Make sure you wear rubber gloves
  3. Disconnect water supply from upper tank (it should be something you can easily unscrew)
  4. Use an 11” wrench, 7/16” wrench, or an adjustable wrench to take off the two bolts holding the toilet to the floor
  5. Once the bolts are off, you should be able to lift up the entire toilet assembly. Place it off to the side, on a towel
  6. Examine the wax seal and flange. In this case, I had put in on wrong, which caused it to leak. You need to put the wax ring on the flange on the floor, not on the toilet.
  7. Clean off any old wax residue, then put on the new toilet wax ring. You may need to replace the bolts in the floor if you bent them when you pulled off the toilet.
  8. You then place the toilet down, aligning it with the bolts that are sticking up from the floor. When you place the toilet down, it will dig into the wax ring on the ground, sealing it in. My mistake was to place the wax on the toilet hole at the base, and assume it would seal
  9. Once you place the toilet down, push on it from above/sit on it and rock gently back & forth. This will help dig the toilet into the wax ring.
  10. Put the bolts back on and tighten down. Do not over-tighten or you might crack the toilet
  11. Reattach the water to the top tank, and then turn the water back on. Toilet should refill
  12. Flush the toilet a couple of times to get water back into the toilet bowl

Once this is done, monitor the toilet for the next week to make sure the leakage doesn’t reoccur.

My brother-in-law was a contractor and said that “once you’ve changed a toilet 3 times, you can do it in your sleep.” I hope he’s right.

Mr. 39 Months

2 thoughts on “Frugal Tip – Fixing your mistakes, instead of letting them compound”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.