Monday, October 12, 2009

New Idea for Replacing a Wax Ring

I read a lot of forums with questions regarding toilet leaks, smells coming from under toilets and how to properly install a new or reinstall and old toilet. In most cases the offending problem is the wax ring under the toilet. For as many questions there are there are an equal number of answers and versions but I ran across one of the best this weekend. It includes a new idea for utilizing 2 wax rings instead of just one. This is not to be confused with the idea that you can use 2 rings to raise the toilet up from a sunken closet flange but the second wax ring is softened and used to seal around the flange and to create a wax to wax seal for the new ring. This process comes from “DUNBAR PLUMBER” the moderator of one of my favorite discussion forums
Here is his process for repacing a wax ring and a picture showing the final result, before placing the toilet, that he provides is above:

“The best method for installing a wax ring involves 2 rings for the application.

1. First ring is used as a product that fills in all the gaps where the flange and floor meet. Water does not get along with wax so you want no chance of water ever getting down the gaps. This prevents problems from showing up days/months/years from now when the actual wax ring used to seal the toilet to your piping system gets old or leaks due to plunging. If the wax ring starts to leak, this will prevent some serious floor damage that can lead to mold intrusion along with structural damage. For the cost of that extra wax ring, it's worth every dime to use it in that fashion.
2. Use a "normal" wax ring that does not have a horn embedded in the wax. Too often this horned ring is not useful for its application and if there is a height issue with the flange, this flange will bottom out on the toilet's underside or the flange. This means insufficient wax to properly seal the toilet to the flange given the thickness. Always remember that Industry Standard for closet flange height is 7/16" above the finished floor height, which is also the thickness of the closet flange. If you're in a situation where your closet flange is sunken into the floor much deeper than normal, this opens up into another problem because the susceptibility of having a simple clogged toilet being plunged will cause the wax ring to easily lose the seal. This is where the point of leaking occurs and it can be found out quickly or later after damage has occurred.
Wax rings are designed to compress down and spread across the underside of the toilet so the perfect connection exists to seal the toilet to the drainage system properly. I believe that someday in the near future that wax rings will be eliminated and the use of a quick connect fitting built into the underside of the toilet will adapt to any plumbing system. This advancement in technology will be the answer to the constant issues that wax rings do not always provide when there are too many variables to consider with floor heights, flange heights, manufacture specifications of the underside of the toilet's base. This is the best application and serves the "down the road" thinking of protecting your floor without having issues with property damage.
I cannot even begin to tell how many times I've seen thousands of dollars spent on property damage claims in relation to toilets leaking at the base due to wax rings or other methods of connection to the toilet to make a positive seal.“
To add to Dunbar’s process I would remind you that when replacing the toilet and tightening the flange bolts down you should be careful to tighten each bolt only a few turns at a time to evenly exert the leverage on the base of the toilet. These bolts should be snug but under no circumstances should they be over tightened because the toilet is made of porcelain and can easily crack and the only repair is to throw that toilet away (they make excellent planters for your front yard) and start all over. That’s an expensive learning lesson.

Thanks, Dunbar, for the great idea and for the many folks you help daily on your forum.

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