A wax ring leak will normally develop without you being aware of it until it has caused some damage and contamination. What am I talking about? The wax ring is what many know is the item installed under the toilet to create a seal to keep the water being flushed from the toilet into the sewar pipe from leaking on to the floor of your bathroom and contaminating the area with dangerous bacteria that can make people very sick and in the extreme case die.
Most wax rings are good for only one use. Meaning, each time you remove a toilet for any reason these have to be replaced to create a new seal otherwise the toilet will leak each time it is flushed.
This is very important thing to do, though usually inexpensive at maybe $10 for the wax ring itself. There are some ‘wax rings’ that are made for multiple installations that cost a bit more. In most cases Insurance will not cover damage from a wax ring leak since it is viewed as a maintenance item and will usually be leaking over a period of time before the leak is discovered by an Inspector, such as myself, or water damage starts to become visible.
However, if the wax ring suddenly develops a big crack or breaks apart, so to speak you will see or hear the flushed water come out onto the floor or hear it dripping through the ceiling underneath depending on which floor the toilet is located. In this scenario the insurance company can cover the sudden damage and contamination caused by a broken wax ring. When that happens, you want to document it by taking pictures and getting a plumber to verify it as soon as possible if you want insurance to cover it.
The most important thing about a wax ring in this blog is to encourage you, the owner, to change these on a regular basis such as every few years so you don’t have any surprises down the road. Along with that, it will help protect the health of your family and your property. Of course, getting your property inspected by the right inspector, like myself helps as well. Keep in mind that not all inspectors check for moisture around toilets which normally sit on top of tile. You need to ask the inspector if they do that as part of their inspection process. If they don’t does. Using a moisture meter to determine if high moisture is next to or around the toilet can save you money from more extensive damage and contamination.
Steve Mullins (i.e. mold detector)
CMC, Certified Microbial Consultant
Moisture and Mold Detection, Inc.