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Question DetailsAsked on 9/15/2016

1969 mobile home with leak under home. I was told that because of the age of home, the pipe is probably galvanized.

There's a leak in bathroom around where the pipe from the tank goes into the floor. I noticed water on floor, but pipe didn't feel wet. I turned off the water to tank. The leak has stopped under mobile home. Before we bought the home, someone had put something that feels like cement, around the base on the floor. It isn't flush to pipe. Don't have much money for repairs. Not sure what to do.

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That age copper or galvanized are both possible - as is butyl (black plastic) tubing.

First a bit of DIY checking to be sure the water is from that valve/connection, not the toilet itself - run toilet paper with your hand, starting at highest point and working down and checking frequently to see if it has wetness showing - source of water will be at or very near the highest wet point. Be sure when checking tank itself and wall that any condensation you find is what is causing the water on the floor - you might have soem condensation that is not making it to the floor PLUS a leak somewhere else. Tank/wall condensation is common in humid climates and toilets without tempering valve (which put warm rather than cold water into the tank to prevent the tank from "sweating".

1) along the wall behind the tank (sometimes condensation occurs behind the tank, or from moisture coming from the vent hole in the back of the tank)

2) over the back of the tank to the extent you can reach it (possible condensation on tank if you do not have tempered or warm water going into it or rarely cracked tank or tank is overfull so water is wicking over top of the tank - check tank water level if near the fill line on the inside of the tank - commonly a couple inches below tank rim). Also sometimes condensation on the underside of the tank lid can run across the lid (especially if tank or lid is tilted) and run down the lid rim onto and down the outside of the tank.

3) around the bottom of the tank where it meets the toilet base (possible leaking tank mounting bolts or more rarely leaking tank to base gasket)

4) around bottom of the tank mounting bolts that stick down through the rear of the toilet base (again, leaking tank bolt holes or rarely tank mounting gasket)

5) around toilet seat mounting bolts (possible leakage from condensate on tank, or from leaking tank bolts or gasket flowing forward to the seat mounting bolt holes)

6) down back of toilet base, and around base of toilet (for possible leakage at toilet mounting seal to sewer pipe but tht would be the source only if rest of toilet was found to be dry) and much more rarely a cracked or leaking toilet base - usually at exact front and back center casting form marks when this happens.

7) around the inlet fitting where the water supply tube goes into the bottom of the tank

8) around the inlet tubing itself - commonly leaks are at fittings on either end, or can be anywhere along it with metal spiral flex type supply tubing

9) around the toilet supply shutoff valve stem at wall or floor behind toilet - from leaking stem/cap gasket (where the valve stem goes into the "bonnet" or cap

10) around where cap or bonnet threads (where the bonnet the stem goes through threads onto the body of the valve), or where supply shutoff valve joins to the pipe coming through the wall or floor due to leaking or corroded threads or pipe
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Sometimes if takes one pass to identify the general area of the leak, and a second run with dry toilet paper or bare hand a few hours later to tie down the exact spot where the water is coming from - especially with tank bolt leaks which can come out on the top of the toilet base and then run down to the floor (in back, side, or through seat mounting bolt holes). And of course any leak dripping off the tank can wet the floor right under that point, or run down the back of the toilet to form a puddle, so the puddle on the floor is not necessarily right under the leak itself.

Depending on your DIY expertise, you might or might not be able to remedy some or any of these issues if you find one to be the source - most toilet repairs on the feed tubing and in the tank are about a 5-6 on a 10 scale for DIY'ers with a bit of varied home repair experience - perhaps a bit on the high side for first-timers.

Also, if the shutoff valve has not been turned on and off every year or two, it can be frozen up and have a corroded or deteriorated valve stem seal or bonnet, so if you turn it off it can leak a bit, and if you try to tighten the bonnet unless you are real careful it is possible to break the valve off the supply pipe or have the seal fail, causing a leak at the valve that requires its replacement. So with older supply valve leaks, unless you are pretty familiar with plumbing (obviously not or you would not have posted this question phrased as it is), I recommnend getting a plumber in to replace it.

Plumbing would be your Search the List category to find a well-rated and reviewed plumber for a fix - common types of toilet leaks from the tank gaskets/seals generally about $100-200 repair cost depending on your local labor costs (up to $300's in a very few very high cost cities) - parts are pretty cheap as long as toilet itself if not cracked, which can run another $100-200 for a run of the mill economy toilet if that is the case, but that is very rare.

If the valve itself it leaking, typically $150 repair range IF it just needs new seals or comes off the pipe nicely or the feed pipe sticks out enough to make a new threaded or compression connection to. If it is badly corroded or the feed pipe is cracked, then can get into the few hundred range plus commonly a bit of wall or floor repair if the plumber has to dig into it to repair the pipe and/or make a new connection, so in nasty cases where there is not enough pipe showing to make a new connection, or if he has to cut the main feed pipe way back because of corroded pipe, can get into the $500 range including plumbing and a follow-on contractor of appropriate type (commonly a handyman) to repair floor/drywall.

Handyman can commonly repair this sort of issue - but if it looks like the problem is at the pipe in the wall a plumber is probably a better bet because they are generally more capable at making a good connection on degraded or short-stub piping without breaking it.

You said mobile home - if your home is reasonably accessible underneath, the fact this may be plastic tuybing or galvanized pipe would normally not be a significant issue - plumber could just crawl under and cut the pipe underneath and install a new section up into the bathroom to connect on to, pricing as described above unless it is a real mess under there. If pipe if not readily accessible due to spray-on foam insulation or such, or it is a redent or insect haven or real obstructed or mucky under there that of course can add to the cost - requiring rodent or insect removal or spraying first and a return trip later in extreme cases.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




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