The wax ring underneath a toilet provides a lasting seal between the bowl and the flange. There are times when you need to install a new wax ring. Some occasions are more obvious than the others, but it is important to change out the wax ring when necessary. The replacement process itself is simple.
When the Bowl Is Lifted
Whenever the toilet bowl is lifted, the seal between the toilet and flange breaks. This happens especially when you replace the toilet with a different one. Other scenarios also require the installation of a new wax ring. These scenarios include when you remove the toilet from the flange to repair either the flange or the floor underneath the toilet. You also need a new wax ring after you pull the toilet off the flange to remove a deep, stubborn clog.
When a Toilet Rocks
The seal created by the wax ring sometimes breaks, even when the toilet has not been lifted off the flange. If the toilet is rocked or moved too far, the motion compromises the seal.If you've noticed the bowl rocks back and forth when you're seated, instead of being stationary as it should be, replace the ring. Also, after you install the bowl onto the flange, do not shift it around too much or the seal may break that quickly.
For a Leak Under the Base
Water leaking from underneath the toilet base after you flush signifies the wax ring is not sealing properly. For this reason, when you caulk around a toilet base after installation, consider leaving a gap in the back of the toilet. This way, when there is a leak, the caulk will not trap it underneath the bowl and you will be able to spot it.
For Sewer Odors
Another tip-off that the wax ring needs to be changed is the odor of sewer gases in the bathroom. This odor may occur at the same time as water leaking from beneath the base. Sewer gases can be more than annoying. You may also experience physical symptoms from exposure to them, including headaches, nausea and drowsiness. This occurs from exposure to methane, an odorless component of sewer gas.