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What is a Toilet Pipe?

By C.L. Rease
Updated May 16, 2024
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A toilet pipe connects a toilet bowl outlet to the waste piping of a building. The base of the toilet does not connect directly to the waste pipe, but the connection relies on a series of components to seal the connection and eliminate water and methane leaks. Sitting inside the waste pipe is a connector called a toilet flange. On top of the toilet flange rests a wax ring that creates a seal between the top of the waste pipe and the base of the toilet bowl. Installing and maintaining the components of the toilet pipe connection ensure water does not destroy the flooring around the toilet or allow methane gas to enter a structure.

The main sealing component of a toilet pipe connection is a wax ring. A wax ring consists of a thick layer of wax molded over a plastic or rubber gasket. When the gasket sits on top of the toilet pipe, the thick wax ring faces away from the pipe. Sitting a toilet on the wax ring compresses the wax, sealing the connection. Holding the toilet base tight to the wax ring is a set of toilet flange bolts.

Toilet flange bolts have a flat, oblong head and a long, threaded shaft. The flat head slide is in slots located on the top of the toilet pipe flange, resting just outside the outside perimeter of the wax ring. When the toilet base sits over the flange, the bolts slide into holes cast in the bottom of the base. Tightening the bolts locks the toilet in position over the toilet pipe. Over-tightening the bolts will crack the toilet base or break the flange from the top of the toilet pipe.

Replacement toilet pipe flanges repair a broken flange and provide a stable mounting point for a toilet base. An insecure toilet base will damage the seal between a wax ring and the toilet. This allows water and methane gas to bypass the connection and enter an enclosed structure. Water damages wooden components surrounding the connection and a buildup of methane gas creates a fire hazard within the enclosed space. The smell of methane gas in a bathroom is a sure sign that the connection seal has been broken.

When a methane gas smell is noticed or the toilet moves when pushed, the toilet pipe flange must be disassembled. Installing new components will ensure the seal remains intact. A severely damaged toilet pipe flange will need to be replaced by a certified plumber.

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