Author Topic: slow leak  (Read 3823 times)

gillstone

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slow leak
« on: January 28, 2014, 11:32:36 AM »
We have a very slow leak coming from our toilet and into our crawlspace but not onto the bathroom floor.  I pulled the toilet and repalced the wax seal and inspected the flange (it was fine).  The leak slowed considerably but has not stopped - something like an half an ounce of wastewater a day. 

I am resealing the PVC joints this weekend to see if its a possible leak from the short length of drain pipe before it bends away from the wet spot and on to the sewer.

If the pipes are sealed, the flange is intact and the wax seal is new are there any other possible culprits I need to consider?

last note: sewer line was cleaned out 2 years ago and no trees or shrubs are planted above it.

Greg

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 12:27:39 PM »
If the pipes are sealed, the flange is intact and the wax seal is new are there any other possible culprits I need to consider?

Well if all the above is true, then it can't be waste water from below the bowl.  Unless the flange/bowl gakset (wax ring) isn't thick enough, due to new tile or other height increases.  Sometimes you have to use an extra thick or double gasket.  But if this was the source I'd expect to see evidence of it when the toilet was removed.

Other possibilities are water leaks at the tank/bowl connection, tank supply line.  But these would likely be visible above.  The supply pipe in the wall could be another source, but it's not waste water.

Ottawa

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 12:31:28 PM »
When it flushes, does it do so with gusto? 
Is it possibly condensation...if you live in a hot climate...you could test this by adding some harsh colored food coloring to the bowl and see whether you get colored water coming out into your crawlspace? 

Adam Zapple

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 12:40:42 PM »
The only other things I can think of are:

-Is the finished floor higher than the flange?  If so you may need two wax seals sandwiched together. I like using the wax seal with the built-in polyethylene flange built into it on the bottom and a standard wax seal on top.

-Is the tank that mounted tightly to the seat?  If not just tighten the two big screws at the bottom of the tank.

-This may sound stupid but are you sure its waste water from the toilet and not water from the shower, condensation from the back of the toilet tank, fresh water leaking from the supply hose or something else that just happens to collect at the base of the toilet?

gillstone

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 01:30:33 PM »
Thank you for the replies.  I am positive it is waste water. Its brownish, smells like poo, reacts with bleach, and only leaks when the toilet flushes.  I hadn't considered the differences in height between floor and flange.  I'm reluctant to pull my toilet again, but if sealing the pipes doesn't work I will look there.

Thank you

Spork

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 01:45:00 PM »

You might also check that it doesn't rock.  I've seen where uneven floors can make it rock a bit and make a low spot in the wax ring.  Uneven tile often requires a little wedge under one corner to steady everything.

Usually the waste water is moving by quick enough that you don't get a lot of leak.  If you're getting a bit of water... I'd also suspect a clog further down the line.

ritchie70

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 10:51:53 AM »
-Is the finished floor higher than the flange?  If so you may need two wax seals sandwiched together. I like using the wax seal with the built-in polyethylene flange built into it on the bottom and a standard wax seal on top.

I've read somewhere (that I can't find now, of course) that doubling up wax rings isn't recommended. You'll tend to have too much wax and that results in a leak too.

You should be able to find extra-tall wax rings with the poly flange at your local Home Depot.

There are also rubber gaskets that can be used to make this seal. They stick to the bottom of the toilet then extend into the waste pipe. I have this in my MIL's condo because the floor flange center hole is strangely large (apparently a common "style" of plumbing in the Chicago area, where they don't bring the actual pipe all the way up to floor level) and it was able to seal where a wax ring couldn't.

ritchie70

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 10:54:31 AM »
Thank you for the replies.  I am positive it is waste water. Its brownish, smells like poo, reacts with bleach, and only leaks when the toilet flushes.  I hadn't considered the differences in height between floor and flange.  I'm reluctant to pull my toilet again, but if sealing the pipes doesn't work I will look there.

Thank you

When you pull it again make sure you use a new wax ring. Those aren't reusable.

If it's any consolation, after I pull the same toilet a couple times I usually get pretty good at it. They can be heavy though.

pjm123a

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2014, 12:09:40 PM »
I just fixed a leak. I used something called a "sani seal' obtained from my local Lowes. It was $11.94. Unlike a wax ring it allows the toilet to be re-positioned multiple times (it is not one use). They can also be stacked to solve the potential issue with floor height differences. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but it worked for me.

Good Luck

http://www.lowes.com/pd_470197-31904-BL01_0__?productId=4650525&Ntt=eax+ring&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Deax%2Bring&facetInfo=

Greg

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 12:53:06 PM »
It sounds like you have a bad joint in the PVC joints as you suspect.  Resealing can be difficult without replacing a lot of fittings and pipe.  If you can locate the leak origination, you may be able to just do that one joint but getting the glue into the leak area will be nearly impossible.  So you may have to cut that section out and redo it with new fittings and pipe.  If it is PVC, be sure to use primer and plenty of glue.  Wear gloves and provide ventilation.

You may also want to inspect the waste lateral(s) to make sure they slope.  Sometimes things settle, or hangers come loose. 

gillstone

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 02:18:36 PM »
So we called a plumber in (it helps that wife's uncle runs a plumbing business) and we have it fixed.  The main source of the leak was the rear bolt mounting the tank to the seat being slightly too loose.  This made water run very slowly of the toilet, under the bottom and then down the hole to the crawlspace.  Of course we didn't figure this out until after the toilet was pulled twice and the DIY job of the previous owner was shown to be woefully inadequate. On the upside, the proces for fixing that one small problem helped us find 3 other problems that could have been issues down the road including:
- a bad wax seal (I replaced on my first stab at fixing things)
- a flange that looked OK from above but was improperly installed so when it was pulled up, the PVC pipes came with it
- a bad flapper valve

Thank you again for your help, this is one of the best DIY boards I've found.

Greg

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Re: slow leak
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 05:04:50 PM »
Glad you got it fixed... water problems are best attacked head-on lest you like spending gobs of money.