Rubber behind the toilet sprung a leak - can I fix it by myself?
March 6, 2012 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Toilet has a rubber piece that sprung a leak - help

In the back of the toilet there's this rubber gasket that got old and is now leaking. What is it called and how do you replace it? Does the whole toilet need to be taken out?
posted by watercarrier to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
If your 'gasket' is a sort of flexible rubber pipe, then in the UK these are called pan connectors (no idea what they're called elsewhere). Sometimes there's an extra rubber piece between the toilet and the pipe (usually an offset connector). This is also easy to replace. Often a pan connector will have a flexible section so that's adjustable for height/length/bends.

Replacing these things is generally very straightforward and cheap. But often it's just a matter of pushing/twisting the existing connector to get a better fit and stop the leak, rather than buying a new one. They don't tend to fail very often.

Whether you have to move the toilet out will depend on how much access you have to the existing pan connector. Often this too is quite easy, and involves unscrewing a pair of screws on either side of the toilet that anchor it to the floor. These usually screw into brackets attached to the floor, so when moving the toilet, you may have to lift it over the brackets. Also, check the cold water pipe where it attaches to the cistern - usually it's a flexible pipe, allowing the toilet to be moved around, but sometimes you'll need to shut off the water to this pipe at the valve and unscrew it before moving the toilet.

But before you do anything else, give the rubber pipe a wiggle/push to see if it just needs to go on a bit further.

Oh, and keep old towels and a jug handy, just in case something goes wrong. And a bag for the old connector, as it's inclined to be a little bit, well, dirty.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:32 AM on March 6, 2012

Oh, also the gasket may just be part of the pan connector, where it joins the toilet (some types do have a gasket). You'd still replace the whole pan connector though.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:34 AM on March 6, 2012

Response by poster: Hi - This is a very old system - it's basically a rubber seal that directly connects the porcelain to the PVC pipe - like this

Question is would I need to remove the entire toilet to remove the old one or could I get away popping the PVC pipe from out of the old one, removing the old gasket, putting on a new one and popping the PVC pipe back into place without disturbing the toilet seat from the floor.
posted by watercarrier at 2:51 AM on March 6, 2012

Best answer: The answer is totally dependent on how much freedom the PVC pipe has to move. You will have to move it out of the gasket, replace the rubber gasket, and refit the pipe. Unless you can move the pipe 50-100mm back, the pan will have to come off.

If taking the pan off causes major grief, and you have good access to the pipe (preferably outside the toilet/bathroom), you can cut the pipe so the toilet end can move more freely, then rejoin it either permanently, or with a joiner that can be taken apart again in the future. You will need to assess exactly how much easier cutting the pipe will make the job, preferably before making the cut!

It may not be age that has caused this problem, some cleaning products can rot the rubber quickly - don't ask me how I know this, or how to replace the gasket ... ;-)
posted by GeeEmm at 3:51 AM on March 6, 2012

Response by poster: Awesome thanks ~so~ much. Wor I'll try to wiggle the PVC free and see how that goes. If I hit a roadblock I'll just call a plumber. :)
posted by watercarrier at 8:51 AM on March 6, 2012

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