Will Bad Wax Ring Cause Toilet Not To Flush
Kristina Davis

Will bad wax ring cause toilet not to flush? This is a common question, especially from those with toilet malfunctions in houses built over 20 years ago.

In this article, we will go over the different causes of a bad wax ring, whether they cause a toilet not to flush and how to fix them.

The wax ring in your toilet prevents the toilet water from leaking into your bathroom.

Wax rings act as an insulator and can reduce the possibility of exposure to human wastes or potential diseases they carry. 

Toilets are essential for removing septic-prone wastes and protecting your family from germs.

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Rest assured, a malfunctioning toilet with a bad wax ring won’t cause it not to flush. However, it would impede your daily living. A bad wax ring won’t adequately seal your toilet, which is an important and the second most used room in your household.

What’s A Wax Ring?

wax ring

To keep waste fluid from leaking when you flush the toilet, a ring of sticky wax is put on the joint between the sewer pipe and the bottom of the bathroom.

That’s the wax ring. This gummy resin makes it watertight.

As every material for house construction will eventually fail, the wax ring is no exception.

It can dry out and eventually make your bathroom vulnerable. The toilet wax ring lifespan has a lifespan of about 30 years, depending on the joint.

And once installed, it can go for a long time without maintenance!

How To Know If Toilet Wax Ring Is Bad

toilet wax ring is bad

You might be wondering what causes a toilet wax ring to fail? The right answer is time and continued usage.

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Occasionally, the wax seal between the toilet and the flange can break.

But it’s worth noting that wax rings aren’t easy to tear out, so if you notice any of these things, consider replacing them. 

Otherwise, the water may seep through your floor and make a bigger mess than it already is.

When it does break down, you’ll have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Leak on Toilet
  • Sewage Smell
  • Wobbly Toilet
  • Damages on Floor

Now, let’s dive into the individual symptoms of a broken wax ring:

Leak on Toilet Base

When your toilet leaks water, it’s usually a sign that the toilet wax ring needs to be replaced.

There are many places for water to come from in a bathroom, so don’t assume the wax ring needs to be replaced just because there’s water on the floor.

If there are toilet leaks:

  • It is a good idea to wipe up wet surfaces
  • Check the water pipes
  • Make sure there is no water around the bathroom tub
  • Ensure that the closet bolts are secured
  • If you find a puddle of water around your toilet
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Sewage Smell

smell of sewage

When your toilet has frequent leaks and sewage smells, then it is a sign of a bad wax ring and high sewer gases.

Sewer gases are unpleasant, flammable, and can be toxic.

Therefore, these are unhealthy, life-threatening odors, so you should seal your toilet with a new wax ring to prevent poisonous gases from your bathroom.

Note: You should call a plumber if you have unexplained odors coming from your bathroom, even when there is no water at the base of the toilet.

Wobbly Toilet

If you notice one side of your toilet is off the ground, chances are you have a bad wax ring.

Even the tiniest movement can compromise the wax ring, causing your toilet to wobble.

Beware that there are also other reasons why a toilet would become wobbly; an example is when the bolts holding your bathroom loosen.

The leak could be on account of water seeping into the subfloor and softening it.

To repair this, you will have to understand what went wrong, like improper installation of the toilet or wax ring failure.

Damages on Floor

damage on floors

Your home’s flooring, such as the subflooring and floor joists, is crucial to a safe house.

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As the out water seeps to the floor because of a bad wax ring, it damages the floor. Be sure to repair subfloors and avoid contact with wet floors for a structurally sound house.

For signs of water damage, check the ceiling under your toilet.

Leaking water could damage your subflooring and encourage molds to grow in your home.

In some cases, a plumber may use caulking on toilet installations.

This helps to prevent water from leaking from the base, which can cause damage to the ceiling or floor.

Replacing a Bad Wax Ring

replace bad wax ring

We’ve ascertained that the answer to can a bad wax ring cause flushing problems is a NO.

However, this still doesn’t prevent all of the issues and inconveniences associated with a bad wax ring.

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Once you notice it’s bad, you should rush to replace it immediately.

Types of Wax Rings

The first step in replacing a bad wax ring is knowing which type you’ll need.

There are two types of wax rings:

  • Regular Wax Ring
  • Double-thick Wax Ring

You must check the toilet flange to determine the type installed in your toilet.

The wax-free flange seal is heavy-duty enough to produce quality, secure seals without applying any wax.

Note: This wax ring on the toilet floor is reusable. 

If you repair it or it is still in good shape and attached to the bowl, you can use it to install your toilet without replacing the seal.

steps replace wax ring

Steps on Replacing a Bad Wax Ring

The tools you’ll need to replace a bad wax ring are:

  • An adjustable wrench,
  • A putty knife, 
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • And a bucket

By the time you’re wondering, will bad wax ring cause toilet not to flush, it means it’s a past repair, and you should replace it with a new one.

Here’s how to replace the bad wax ring:

Step #1: Drain Water

drain the water

You can find the water tank by searching for it behind your toilet, above or below the bowl.

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You should be able to see a pipe going from the back of the bathroom into the tank. Turn this tap off.

Flush the toilet to bail out any standing water.

Disconnect the water supply line from the toilet tank at its bottom. Get the excess water out of the toilet bowl and the tank using a wet/dry vac.

Otherwise, you will have to plunge, bail by hand, or use towels to sop up the remaining water.

Step #2: Detach Toilet from the Ground

detach toilet

Use an adjustable wrench to remove the bolts at the base of the toilet, then remove the bolts and washers with a wrench.

The toilet is only supported by gravity and what remains of the deteriorating wax ring.

When loosening the toilet with gentle rocking, twist it slightly before removing it.

Lift the toilet by gripping it with your knees and don’t pull or push as this may lead to cracking or chipping.

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Step #3: Remove the Old Faulty Wax Ring

remove old wax ring from bottom

To remove the old wax ring seamlessly, you will need a putty knife.

Using this tool, you can remove as much of the old wax ring from the toilet’s bottom and the toilet flange on the floor.

Ensure the flange is clean and dry before installing a new wax ring.

Contact a plumber first for safety reasons if there are any dents or other damage to the flange.

Step #4: Place the New Wax Ring

new wax ring

While there may be small differences in design, most wax rings come with self-adhesive strips so that you can attach them to any side of the toilet.

Most people place their wax ring on the bottom or flange, but these are interchangeable.

You should align the bolt holes in the bottom of the toilet with the corresponding holes on the wax ring before you lower it onto the flange to avoid damage.

Step #5: Test It Out

test toilet out

Ensure the toilet lid is closed. You want to push your toilet into place by sitting on it and bearing weight.

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It would be best if you moved around until it’s level with the floor.

To install a toilet flush with the floor, you may need to shift your weight around several times until it’s also level with the ground or floor.

Note: Be sure to replace the water supply line and bolts, then close the valve and flush a few times. Please give it some safety checks as well to ensure no leaks.

Final Thoughts

So, will bad wax ring cause toilet not to flush? No, it won’t. But you may still need to replace it to avoid inconveniences.

It will take between $50 and $200 to replace a wax ring, which includes labor and the cost of materials. 

The sealing ring is usually inexpensive at around $2 for a new one, with about $10 for labor.

If you’re not sure, always hire a professional plumber to do the replacement.