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Tips for Replacing Your Toilet’s Wax Ring

When it comes to your home’s plumbing, you often take it for granted until something goes wrong. So many small details ensure that your plumbing works correctly, and when one of them becomes faulty, it can seem like a catastrophe.

One example of this is your toilet’s wax ring. What’s the toilet ring, you ask? Here is a plumber-approved guide explaining the importance of this fixture and how to change one yourself.

What is a toilet ring?

A toilet ring is exactly what it sounds like: a sticky ring of wax that is located right under the base of the bowl. It suctions the toilet to the floor and sewer pipe below. The idea behind it is to prevent any leaks or drainage from seeping out when the pipes are in use.

How do I know if I need a new toilet wax ring?

There are a few telltale signs that you need a new wax ring. Depending on your toilet, you could experience a wobbly toilet, leaking water, or a stain all around the base of the toilet. Additionally, you also need a new wax ring if you are installing a new toilet. While this may seem obvious, new toilets don’t always come with brand new wax rings. Luckily, they aren’t expensive, and they can be bought at your local hardware store for around $10 or less.

Tips for installing a wax ring

Here are some tips from professional plumbers like Bob Oates Sewer Repair on how to install your own wax ring:

Inspect the damage: If you’re changing your wax ring because your toilet is leaking or wobbly all of the sudden, always look into what caused the damage first. Whether it is a faulty type, or the ceramic tile in your bathroom is too thick, determine the cause so you can fix it properly before adding in a new ring and dealing with another problem in a few months.

Drain and remove the toilet: Turn off the water in your house, and then flush or sponge out the water until the bowl is completely dry. Keep a bucket handy so you can empty all the drains. Remember that when loosening the compression nut, you should make sure not to bend anything. If you do, you can risk the fixture being permanently damaged. If the toilet is too heavy to move all at once, consider detaching the bottom bolts first and separating the toilet into two pieces.

Remove the old wax ring: You’ll see the ring right on the top of the drain pipe and the flange. We recommend using a flat scraper for removal, and don’t leave any debris behind or the new ring won’t attach properly. Be careful when doing this; an old ring can be quite difficult to remove. For additional help with removal, dip a rag in wax removal solution to get rid of any additional stickiness.

Put the new ring on: Go slowly, as you won’t want to go through all the hassle of removing sticky wax if you make a mistake. Wear disposable gloves and gently press down until the new ring is adhered.

Reinstall the toilet: Lift the toilet up and with it pointing directly down, lower it in place with the mounting screws pointing down. As gently as you can, press the toilet down and rock it back and forth to help the wax ring create a waterproof seal. If installed correctly, a toilet wax ring can last up to 30 years.