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 How long do wax rings last?
Author: DIYdude (IL)

I live in a 100+ y.o. building. I looked at my basement's unfinished ceiling, just below where the first floor bathroom is located. The wood beams and laths seems to be damp. There is no evidence of water on the basement floor -- no standing water or dried water stains. The moisture seems to be centered near the large pipe that comes down from the ceiling, into the basement floor (is that called the stack??).

There is no evidence of leaking water anywhere in the first floor or second floor bathroom. The area at the base of the toilet is dry.

All drains have good flow and both toilets flush completely.

Could there be a small leak inside the drain of the toilet? How long does a toilet wax ring last? I know that the wax ring hasn't been touched for at least 14 years.

Any suggestions of what to look for?

Thanks in advance.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: jimmy-o (CA)

On a toilet which is installed snugly, good fit, the wax should last the life of the toilet....15 to 30 years +/

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: dlh (TX)

it could be just condensate

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: hj (AZ)

The wax ring will last for many years, but the seal may not last that long if the toilet can move or wiggle.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: e-plumber (NY)

Flush the toilet 10+ times in a row, if it's the gasket causing the dampness. The leak could be so slow that it is soaking into the wood around the closet flange without actually dripping through the ceiling below, by flushing it repeatedly, you may see some water leaking.

As for how long a wax gasket will last, I've lifted toilets that were originally installed in the 1920's, the wax may not have been tacky to the touch but there were no leaks or escaping odors.

e-plumber
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"The society which scorns excellence in Plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good Plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." -
John William Gardner 10/8/1912 - 2/16/2002

Repair your leaking Plumbing fixtures ASAP [www.theplumber.com]
This slow drip will waste 7+ gallons of water per day.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: hj (AZ)

I doubt that any 20's toilet had a wax seal. Plumber's putty was used until at least the late 50's. And I did not even see a wax ring until I moved to this area in the late 60's.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: e-plumber (NY)

That explains why it wasn't tacky like wax, (the seals crumbled) and it did resemble dried up putty.

e-plumber
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The society which scorns excellence in Plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good Plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." -
John William Gardner 10/8/1912 - 2/16/2002

Repair your leaking Plumbing fixtures ASAP [www.theplumber.com]
This slow drip will waste 7+ gallons of water per day.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: britt (AL)

You ever run across an old toilet set with putty that has stuck to the flange? They would pack the whole bottom of the bowl with putty and set it.......I've had a few break off at the horn.....just leave the horn stuck to the flange. Stuff gets so hard you hafta chisel it off. That guy probaly has a lead arm leaking.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: britt (AL)

Plunging a toilet with the sewer stopped up can also blow out a wax seal somtimes. Puts too much pressure on the wax.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

According to USA major wax manufacturers, lifetime. Now that's quite a warranty... isn't it?

Best Wishes

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: jjbex (IL)

What's with the color of wax rings? They used to be golden, now they are brown.

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"You can't get there from here"
Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: DIYdude (IL)

Hi,
First, thanks for all the info.

Second, the comment "lead arm leaking" intrigued me. We had all the in water lines replaced with copper but some of the drain lines are still lead.
Is there something that can be done to stop a slow leak in lead?

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: redwood (CT)

Yea the application of a sawzall.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: hj (AZ)

Probably not, because by the time it starts leaking, the area that is damaged is so large it cannot be soldered over. And if you could solder it, you must use a soldering iron, (which would be very hard to find and expensive), then proceed slowly or you will melt a large hole in the lead.

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 Re: How long do wax rings last?
Author: britt (AL)

The only temp fix I know of is fibergalss cloth and resin. Only temp. replace it.

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