What Is a Wax Ring?


A wax ring is a crucial component of the plumbing system of toilets. A wax ring creates a water-tight seal that ensures that the wastewater from the toilet goes into the sewage system. It not only ensures the correct flow of water but also blocks the regurgitation of sewage gases back into the toilet.

How Does a Wax Ring Work?

The base of the toilet has a pipe inside which directs the flushed wastewater outside of the toilet and into the drainage system. The fixture of the toilet is directed towards the train through a plastic covering known as the flange.

The flange is placed on top of the drain and is usually made of polyvinyl plastic or PVC. In some cases, the flange may be made of cast iron as well.

A wax ring is a circular object made of wax that is placed around the flange to create a seal. The toilet is then pressed on top of the wax seal to create pressure and ensure a watertight attachment.

The wax seal is a delicate mechanism that needs to be reinstalled whenever the toilet is moved or repaired.

What Happens When a Wax Ring Goes Bad?

A wax ring is a crucial component of the toilet’s plumbing system and a wax ring going bad can lead to a lot of negative consequences.

One of the crucial functions of the wax ring is to keep the gases from the sewage tank from coming up into the bathroom. If the seal of the wax ring is broken then the gases can start escaping into the bathroom.

A small crack in the seal can lead to your bathroom filling up with an extremely foul smell, similar to that of rotten eggs. These gases are also harmful to your health.

The seal of the wax ring being broken can also lead to the leakage of wastewater from the toilet base. Every time you flush the toilet, part of the water will drip outside of the toilet base.

This water can start accumulating on the floor and damage the flooring, leading to water leaking from the roof of the basement below your bathroom as well. This may lead to a damp ceiling in the floor below, making it cold and inhabitable.

This leaked sewage water can also lead to a foul smell and it is very unhygienic as well.

However, there can be other reasons for water pooling under your toilet and hence it is best to check on the other components of the toilet before deciding to replace the wax ring.

Replacing a wax ring is not a simple task as the entire toilet needs to be moved. A wax ring cannot be reused and hence any time the toilet is moved, the wax ring must be replaced as well. The wax ring must also be replaced if the flange of the drain is broken.

Summing Up

A wax ring is an important component of the plumbing system of a toilet as it creates a seal around the drain that directs the wastewater from the toilet into the sewage. A broken wax ring can lead to sewage gases escaping into the bathroom or leakage of sewage water around the toilet base.

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