Fix-It Chick: Replace wax ring around toilet bowl if water, smell starts to seep

If water is seeping out from beneath the toilet bowl or there is a faint smell of sewer gas in the bathroom, it is definitely time to replace the toilet bowl wax ring.

Step 1: Remove the tank lid and place it in a safe spot. Lay a few towels on the floor to set the toilet on once it has been removed.

Step 2: Turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush the stool holding the trip lever down to drain as much water as possible. Use a plunger to remove the excess water held in the trap or add a package of Liquilock to solidify the remaining water. Once the water has been drained or solidified, disconnect the supply line from the toilet tank.

Step 3: Remove the bolt caps on either side of the toilet base. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts holding the stool in place. If the nuts are too corroded to remove, use a hacksaw to cut the bolts off below the nuts.

Step 4: Lift the toilet up and off the flange bolts and carefully set it upside down on the towels that were laid out earlier.

Step 5: Use a putty knife to scrape the remains of the old wax ring from both the toilet flange and the base of the stool. Clean the area thoroughly to assure the new ring will stick properly to both the toilet and the flange.

Step 6: Press the new wax ring over the outlet on the base of the stool. If the ring has a black plastic flange, it should be pointing out away from the stool.

Step 7: Install new toilet bolts onto the floor flange using plastic retaining washers to hold them in place.

Step 8: Preferably with the help of someone to guide you, lift the toilet, align the stool holes with the flange bolts and set the toilet back into place.

Step 9: Use your body weight and the toilet to compress the wax ring, slightly twisting the stool to assure a proper seal.

Step 10: Secure the toilet into place by hand tightening the nuts onto the flange bolts. Be careful not to over tighten them as the porcelain will crack under pressure.

Step 11: Reattach the water supply line, test to make sure everything is working properly, and replace the lid.

• Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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