Toilet drain is leaking someplace. :(((

Users who are viewing this thread

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
So on Friday the plumber came and installed a new Ultramax II. The toilet was replaced partly to try to correct this leak. Unfortunately I'm still seeing a small drip from the ceiling on the first floor when the toilet is flushed. Could this still be a problem with the wax ring? I'm doubting it. Before I had the toilet replaced, I had kind of shifted the toilet back in to the right position and I really was wasn't leaking after most flushes. I mention that because I wonder if it's still a problem With the wax ring. In the picture with the red lines, that's approximately where the joist is under the toilet And where it runs which direction. Can someone tell me if based on your experience this repair could realistically be done from the first floor side in the ceiling? Or are tiles going to have to come up and possibly the vanity have to come out to repair whatever is leaking? The PVC drain was installed approximately 18-20 years ago. Looking at the pictures I don't see any damage to the flange but I'm no expert and the plumber didn't see any issue either. He said the wax ring was worn on one side when he replaced the toilet that could've caused the initial leak. also the toilet was moving because the bolts were slightly loose on the old toilet. So what is the best approach to opening this up? Again can this be repaired best from the first floor side, or is the drain pipe probably sitting on wood to hold it up making it necessary to open the floor of from the bathroom side? Edit, made the hole larger, see pics below. Even if I need to open it up to do the repair from the bathroom side is it a good idea to open a small hole or use an inspection camera from the first floor to see where the leak is coming from First? Would this likely be a bad joint on the drain stack by the toilet? If this has to be done from the bathroom side am I likely looking at a small hole or large section of floor coming out? Anyone have any ideas how to approach this the best way?

ceiling.jpg
ring 2.jpg
ring 1.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

WorthFlorida

The wife is still training me.
Messages
4,932
Reaction score
774
Points
113
Location
Orlando, Florida
The flange looks good as far as being at nearly the same level as the finished floor. Wax rings compress spreads out for a usually water proof seal. The best way is open the ceiling from below. If it is drywall it is an easy patch job if you're experienced. Far cheaper and less destruction removing floor tiles; one or two will always break no matter how hard you try not to.
 

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
The flange looks good as far as being at nearly the same level as the finished floor. Wax rings compress spreads out for a usually water proof seal. The best way is open the ceiling from below. If it is drywall it is an easy patch job if you're experienced. Far cheaper and less destruction removing floor tiles; one or two will always break no matter how hard you try not to.

Also, I don't think I see water on the bathroom floor, and the tub and sink on the same drain line are not leaking.

I don't understand why it's varied from leaking more, to less, to not at all over time?

Should the plumber try one more wax ring? I read here the ring is more for the sewer gas, not water leaks.

In a typically installed 4" drain can you repair or replace a fitting in a setup like this without messing with a large part of the drain run, and all from the 1st floor?

Yes, would LOVE not to destroy the tiles. I would think though at worse to get to this you would be looking at removing and replacing the vanity and a section 2 tiles wide and 3-4 tiles long. Home Depot still sells these tiles but would love to fix the fitting if needed from the 1st floor side.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,981
Reaction score
3,774
Points
113
Location
IL
I would play the garden hose full blast down the open closet flange for at least 15 minutes or until the pipe starts filing up, or until there is leakage happening. Use one person watching the hose+flange and the other at the ready on the hose valve... Or put a valve at the output end of the hose. If you have an additional person, that person could watch for early signs of a leak.

Under that condition, do you get leaking below? If yes, you cannot blame the wax seal.
 

WorthFlorida

The wife is still training me.
Messages
4,932
Reaction score
774
Points
113
Location
Orlando, Florida
My take on this is two toilets are giving you the same problem, therefore, I would shy away that its a wax ring issue. The ceiling is damaged anyway so cut it open and you see where the leak is coming from. However, Reach4 suggestion is the verify that there is blockage or not.

Also, I don't think I see water on the bathroom floor, and the tub and sink on the same drain line are not leaking.
Water flows down hill and the tub and sink probably connects further down the line.
I don't understand why it's varied from leaking more, to less, to not at all over time?
The leak can be from a pipe fitting & pipe that only the toilet uses. It appears you have PVC plumbing which rarely clogs up. It is possible you have an obstruction and occasionally the waste water backs. A bad fitting, cracked pipe or a bad wax ring is leaking water, however.
Should the plumber try one more wax ring? I read here the ring is more for the sewer gas, not water leaks.
The wax ring is for both sewer gas and water seal, it does both. A lot of bad information out there. You can try another wax ring but a plumber will probably charge for another service call.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,981
Reaction score
3,774
Points
113
Location
IL
The reason for the hose test is two-fold. Check for a blockage, but also to check for a non-wax-related leak.
 

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Fortunately at the moment the leak seams slow. I'm concerned about the bad joint failing completely if that's what it is.

I totally agree with both of you and your ideas above.

20 years ago, I remember asking the plumber about him not using the purple primer - he said it was not needed! Thoughts on that.

It's all in a row on the drain, I believe, sink - toilet - tub, the toilet's in the middle. So water drains from the tub past the toilet connection without leaking - interesting.

I'm concerned about having to cut out and redo the toilet connection stressing the rest of the drain pipe / other fittings. The bathroom is small, the only drain on the 2nd floor. There's a 3-4 foot run sink - toilet - tub that then connects to the main drain stack that vents though the roof and drops 2 floors to the garage floor.

"You can try another wax ring but a plumber will probably charge for another service call." I was thinking that - they claim there's a 1 year warranty, I wonder if that includes a free 2nd wax ring?

What do you think of waxless seals? I know nothing about them but it would seem to me they could be compressed during the install and still reseal, and could not be blown out if you plunged a clog too aggressively?
 

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Also, I can look up and see a little from the garage, going to do that soon.

Strongly thinking about opening the first floor up to see the pipe hopefully better, I just hope wood isn't too in the way.

Would dye help to see if the fitting is leaking?

Again thankful it's not leaking worse right now!
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,981
Reaction score
3,774
Points
113
Location
IL
1. The good answer would have been that he had used the clear primer. Saying primer was not needed was not good.
2. Waxless seals can work fine. Plunging can blow out wax, but IMO only if there is a partial clog in the piping from the toilet. If the blockage is just in the toilet, I think you would have a harder time blowing out the wax. One advantage to the waxless is that you don't have to have the shims already in place to prevent rocking, as you do with wax. Needing to regularly plunge an Ultramax II seems unlikely.
3. They make dye for drainage lines to look for leaks. At least some of it fluoresces under UV. Sounds worth considering.
 

WorthFlorida

The wife is still training me.
Messages
4,932
Reaction score
774
Points
113
Location
Orlando, Florida
It's all in a row on the drain, I believe, sink - toilet - tub, the toilet's in the middle. So water drains from the tub past the toilet connection without leaking - interesting.
The sink pumping could be the cause. Any leak can run along the pipe and hit the toilet fitting then drips on to the ceiling below.
 

Jeff H Young

In the Trades
Messages
5,710
Reaction score
1,281
Points
113
Location
92346
I'd make a hole in lid. I mean why make holes in a good bathroom. make hole where you've already got a mess and need work you might even want to get some of that mold out too . but I didn't set the w/c I see nothing bad from top
 

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
The sink pumping could be the cause. Any leak can run along the pipe and hit the toilet fitting then drips on to the ceiling below.

The drain is highest at the tub and lowest at the sink, I was totally wrong about this part, see the tee pic below!

but I think I understand what you mean. Water leaks can be brutal to find the correct source.
 
Last edited:

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
My take on this is two toilets are giving you the same problem, therefore, I would shy away that its a wax ring issue. The ceiling is damaged anyway so cut it open and you see where the leak is coming from. However, Reach4 suggestion is the verify that there is blockage or not.


Water flows down hill and the tub and sink probably connects further down the line.

The leak can be from a pipe fitting & pipe that only the toilet uses. It appears you have PVC plumbing which rarely clogs up. It is possible you have an obstruction and occasionally the waste water backs. A bad fitting, cracked pipe or a bad wax ring is leaking water, however.

The wax ring is for both sewer gas and water seal, it does both. A lot of bad information out there. You can try another wax ring but a plumber will probably charge for another service call.

"two toilets are giving you the same problem" I really think it's not the flange itself, it could be the cement joint for the flange or another cement joint.
 

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Id make a hole in lid. I mean why make holes in a good bathroom. make hole where youve already got a mess and need work you might even want to get some of that mold out too . but i didnt set the w/c i see nothing bad from top

I totally agree. I can see a limited view of this 2nd floor drain from the garage! I work 10pm-6am and I'm going to try seeing what I can see up there and some of the other cement joints. Very close to opening the 1st floor ceiling, as you said it's already damaged. I live alone and working night shift I would LOVE to have this issue diagnosed already so whoever comes to fix it knows the exact issue coming in and can get in and out ASAP so I can sleep! :)
 

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Does this make sense?

Can this drain run be salvaged? It's 20 years old. I tried to take some random shots of different fittings to show the overall condition of the main drain stack.

See the green arrow fitting, and the red arrow toilet flange or elbow is the main issue right now.

Can this be repaired without opening anything on the bathroom side?

In the JPG "ring 1" is the flange a 4" flange being reduced down to a 3" elbow? The way that is looks dicey to me!

Please ask if anything's not clear.

Dumb a-- didn't use primer, I suspect.

It's nasty in the ceiling but I've seen worse.

Thinking about sqaring off the arch and makeing an access panel for now 27" wide x like 5' long. In case there's any more issues.
 

Attachments

  • 3.jpg
    3.jpg
    24.1 KB · Views: 34
  • 8a.jpg
    8a.jpg
    95.2 KB · Views: 34
  • 10.jpg
    10.jpg
    70.3 KB · Views: 34
  • 12.jpg
    12.jpg
    51.6 KB · Views: 35
  • 14.jpg
    14.jpg
    112.6 KB · Views: 35
  • tee.jpg
    tee.jpg
    23.2 KB · Views: 36
Last edited:

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
And how likely is it there will be a mold issue? I now suspect this was dripping for years! I could never figure out what it was until it got worse. I never saw any water or glop in the basement or the garage on either side of the archway.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,981
Reaction score
3,774
Points
113
Location
IL
Looks like your wax seals are off the hook.

If access around the leaky joints was good enough, I would read up on the various leak repair tapes.

I used some self fusing silicone tape over a broken PVC 1-1/2 joint, and then covered it with a tape that could apply pressure. The silicone tape only sticks to itself, so I felt the extra mechanical binding on the outside was useful.

https://www.fernco.com/plumbing/pow-r-repair/pow-r-wrap looks interesting. It has a limited shelf life in the package I think. Some report not being successful with it, so I don't know if the tape was too old, or installation technique was wrong.

There is something to be said for replacing that whole thing. I probably would not, but that would be one and done.
 
Last edited:

Lee_Leses

Member
Messages
127
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Looks like your wax seals are off the hook.

If access around the leaky joints was good enough, I would read up on the various leak repair tapes.

I used some self fusing silicone tape over a broken PVC 1-1/2 joint, and then covered it with a tape that could apply pressure. The silicone tape only sticks to itself, so I felt the extra mechanical binding on the outside was useful.

https://www.fernco.com/plumbing/pow-r-repair/pow-r-wrap looks interesting. It has a limited shelf life in the package I think. Some report not being successful with it, so I don't know if the tape was too old, or installation technique was wrong.

There is something to be said for replacing that whole thing. I probably would not, but that would be one and done.

Hi / Good Morning!

When you say "the whole thing" do you mean replace the whole drain system, or just the toilet flange and 90 degree elbow? :) Also, do I keep making the hole larger, or try to keep the hole smaller? lol What does this need to cost? I'm on a budget! :)
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,981
Reaction score
3,774
Points
113
Location
IL
I am not a plumber. Sorry.. no budgetary numbers for you. I have reconsidered your picture with the red arrow. Is that a toilet right above there? If so, yes, the leaking would be coming from above, and I don't know if the problem was wax or if the connection below the closet flange was at fault.

Blockage can contribute a lot to wax leaks.
 
Top
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can't live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you'd like to support the site, please allow ads.

If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.
I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks