Symptoms of a Cracked Toilet Flange & How to Fix it
When it comes to plumbing, a toilet flange is an essential unseen part that many homeowners may not be aware of. This small but crucial part connects your toilet to your bathroom’s sewer line and ensures that waste and water are directed where they need to go. However, if your toilet flange is cracked or damaged, it can cause a dump truck of problems that require immediate attention. In this blog post you can read about what and where a toilet flange is, what can cause it to crack, and what you (or our plumbing company) can do to fix it.
What is a Toilet Flange?
A toilet flange is a round ring-shaped component that is located in your bathroom floor and connects your toilet to your home’s plumbing system. The flange, normally covered by your toilet, is usually made of PVC, cast iron, or ABS, and it is installed on top of the sewer pipe to which the toilet is attached. The flange is typically bolted to the floor and has a small opening in the center where the toilet’s waste pipe fits into.
What are the Symptoms of a Cracked Toilet Flange?
If you have a cracked or damaged toilet flange, you may experience a variety of problems that can range from minor annoyances to major plumbing emergencies.
Cracked Toilet Flange Problems
Toilet is Wobbling: If your toilet wobbles or moves when you sit on it, it could be a sign that your flange is damaged or improperly installed. This can be dangerous, as it can cause leaks or even break the toilet altogether.
Leaks: A cracked flange can cause water to leak around the base of your toilet, leading to water damage and potential mold growth.
Sewage Smell: If your toilet flange is cracked, it can cause sewer gases to escape into your bathroom, resulting in unpleasant odors that can be hazardous to your health.
What Causes a Toilet Flange to Crack?
Age of the Flange: Over time PVC and other plastics degrade, the materials used to make your flange can break down and deteriorate, making them more susceptible to cracking with repeated movement and weight.
Improper Installation: If your commode’s flange is not installed right or if it is installed too high or too low, it can cause uneven stress on the flange, leading to cracks. If it’s mounted too high in relation to the floor it’s likely that over time as the toilet is used, there will be a minor amount of repeated flex in the flange that can eventually crack.
Heavy Loads: If someone sits on the toilet incorrectly or drops a heavy object on it, it can cause stress on the flange, leading to cracks.
What can be done if your Toilet Flange is Too High?
If your toilet flange is too high, it can cause your toilet to wobble when you or a guest sits to use it, which can lead to leaks from the wax ring separating. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem: Toilet Base Shims. Shims are small plastic or metal pieces that can be inserted under the base of your toilet to take the weight off the flange and stop the toilet from wobbling. Shims are inexpensive and easy to install, but it’s important to ensure that they are placed correctly and secured with silicon so that they do not shift and interfere with the toilet’s wax ring.
What can be done if your Toilet Flange is Cracked?
If your thinking that your flange might be cracked or damaged, it’s gonna be pretty important to have it fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage and potential health hazards. Replacing a toilet flange can be a challenging task, as it involves removing the old flange, cleaning the area, and installing a new flange. It’s important to ensure that the new flange is installed properly.
Here’s the steps to change out that flange if you feel you’re plumbing skills are at at least and intermediate level.
Step 1: Turn off the Water Supply
Before you begin replacing your toilet flange, you’ll need to turn off the water supply to your toilet. This is because you will actually have to remove the toilet before you begin to get your hands dirty. Locate the valve on the wall behind your toilet and turn it clockwise to shut off the water supply. Once the water supply is turned off, flush the toilet to drain the water from the tank and bowl. In some cases the builder grade shut off valves will start to leak as they may not have been used in years-but that’s another story.
Step 2: Remove the Toilet
Next, you’ll need to remove the toilet from the flange. Start by disconnecting the water supply line from the bottom of the tank using a pair of pliers or a wrench. Next, loosen the nuts that hold the toilet bolts in place using a wrench or socket set. Once the nuts are loose, lift the toilet off the flange and place it aside on a soft, clean surface. There will be some residual water in the toilet, so it’s a good idea to have a couple old towels on the floor to rest the toilet on.
Step 3: Remove the Old Flange
With the toilet removed, you can now remove the old flange. Start by unscrewing the screws or bolts that hold the flange to the floor using a screwdriver or wrench. Once the screws or bolts are removed, lift the flange off the sewer pipe if it’s the type that is has a sealed gasket to the drain pipe and clean the area thoroughly to remove any old wax or debris. If it’s a PVC flange that is glued to your drain pipe then in this case you’d use an inside pipe cutter to cut the flange away from the drain pipe. If you’ve never used one of these you’re starting to get into “call a professional” territory. You may want to cover the drain with a towel to limit the sewer smell from entering your bathroom while you wait on the plumber or if you have to run to the hardware store to get parts.
Step 4: Install the New Flange
Once the old flange is removed, you can install the new flange. Insert the new flange onto the sewer pipe, aligning the screw holes with those in the floor. Secure the flange in place using screws or bolts, making sure to tighten them evenly to prevent leaks. After this you’ll want to install a new wax ring to set the toilet back on.
Step 5: Reinstall the Toilet
With the new flange in place, you can now reinstall the toilet. Start by aligning the toilet bolts with the holes in the flange, ensuring that the toilet is level. Once the toilet is in position, gently press down on it to compress the wax ring and create a seal. Secure the toilet in place using nuts and washers, tightening them evenly to prevent the toilet from rocking. Use shims if the base doesn’t touch the floor on both sides. Having a helper to make sure things are lined up as you lower will make the job go more smoothly.
Step 6: Reconnect the Water Supply
With the toilet securely in place, you can now reconnect the water supply line to the bottom of the tank. Use a pair of pliers or a wrench to tighten the nut, ensuring that it is snug but not over-tightened.
Step 7: Test the Toilet
Once the water supply line is reconnected, turn on the water supply valve and let the tank fill with water. Flush the toilet a few times to ensure that there are no leaks or issues with the flange or wax ring. If you notice any leaks or problems, contact a licensed plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.
In conclusion, replacing a toilet flange can be of the most dreaded tasks, but with the help “Youtube University” (or hiring a licensed plumber), you can get the job done quickly and efficiently. By following these steps, you can ensure that your new flange is installed correctly, and your toilet is working properly. If you need assistance replacing your toilet flange, contact South End Plumbing for a free estimate and professional plumbing services.