What Purpose Does a Wax Ring Serve?

All toilets have a wax sealing ring mounted between the underside of their base and the flange attached to the waste line in the floor. They provide an impermeable barrier that keeps the flushed sewage matter from splashing and seeping onto the floor.

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Functions

Because wax is a soft lipid, it can be formed by pressure and time to provide the best waterproof seal. Wax also has a high surface viscosity. This helps prevent any sewage from settling and growing bacteria, which can cause sickness and harsh odors.

Types

There are two types of common wax rings. One contains a sleeve on the inner portion of the ring, and the other is without. Wax rings with sleeves are becoming more popular as they provide more stability during fitting and installation.

Type of Wax

Wax rings are most typically produced from petroleum-based wax. This type of wax is the cheapest to produce in large scale quantities, and has a melting temperature of 144 to 147 degree Fahrenheit. This allows wax rings to be safe in homes where temperatures range between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Potential Problems

Because wax sealing rings aren't a solid material there is the possibility that during installation a wax ring may become misshapen leaving gaps between the toilet and floor flange. Also, over time the soft wax may become hard, and eventually break or seep waste water onto the floor.

Considerations

As wax is a renewable, long-lasting resource, it provides the most environmentally friendly option for materials in regards to mass producing wax sealing rings.