What Purpose Does a Wax Ring Serve?

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It is important to know where the wax ring for your toilet is.
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Toilets don't seem like complex systems, but many components make up this essential bathroom fixture once you start taking them apart. One of the key parts is the wax ring. It's vital to know where the wax ring is located and its function, especially if yours gets damaged.

Tip

Wax rings are located between the toilet and the closet flange on the floor. They provide an odor-proof seal and keep water from splashing onto the floor.

What Is a Wax Ring?

According to Gogo Rooter Plumbing, wax rings are located between the toilet and the closet flange on the floor. A closet flange is the toilet part that secures the unit to the floor and connects to the drainpipe. As Gogo Rooter Plumbing explains, wax rings will keep water from splashing on the floor, but they are not a leak-proof seal.

A wax ring's primary purpose is to provide an odor-proof seal. Toilets have an internal trap, and this trap holds water and keeps any sewer gas out. A seal still needs to be placed between the sewer and the toilet, though, which is what the wax ring does.

Wax Ring Damage

There are various reasons that your wax ring can go faulty. Most of the time, your wax ring shouldn't get damaged, but certain things can happen that will make the wax rings no longer functional. A major cause that can damage a wax ring is if your toilet is loose. Toilets need to be firmly mounted, but the wax ring can lose its seal if the toilet gets loose.

Another reason your wax ring can become damaged is if there is something wrong with the closet flange. According to Gogo Rooter Plumbing, many homes with tile floors are built with a thin floor, and when the tile is installed, the closet flange will be low.

If the closet flange is low, then there will be a big space between the toilet and the flange, and the wax ring won't be able to compress the area. Although you can install two wax rings to make up for space, Gogo Rooter Plumbing recommends using special flange heighteners to raise the flange height. This will create a proper seal, and your wax ring won't get damaged.

Replace a Wax Ring

According to the Pink Plumber, if your wax ring gets damaged, you need to replace it immediately because you can get leaks. You'll know if your wax ring is damaged if there is water around the toilet base, bad odors are coming from the toilet or you notice any floor damage. You can hire a professional to fix your wax ring, but you can purchase your own universal toilet wax ring with bolts and fix the problem yourself.

According to J. Blanton Plumbing, all you have to do is turn off the water supply and flush your toilet until there is no more water. Next, remove any excess water from your bowl and tank using a wet/dry vacuum. Then disconnect the water supply line from the base and remove the bolts that are on the base with a cordless drill. Rock the toilet until the toilet loosens from the floor and remove it from the floor.

Set your toilet to the side and scrape off any wax with a putty knife. Next, follow the directions on your wax ring kit and install the wax ring. When you're finished, replace the toilet, screw the bolts on and reattach the water lines. Don't forget to turn the water back on when you're finished.

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Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer and her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, Popsugar, Complex, Gurl, The Kitchn, HelloGiggles, Revelist, and Food 52.

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