Wax Ring

Wax Ring: Problems You Didn’t Know You Had

Unheard of Problems

Everybody’s got problems.  Whether it’s money concerns, health issues, or just Frank next door not returning those yard tools he borrowed, there’s always something going wrong.  It’s easy to fix most problems if you get on top of them right away.  To do that, however, you have to first know what they are.  So I want to let you know about a problem you may not even realize you had: the wax ring under your toilet.

The Wax Ring

Wax RingThe wax ring is an airtight and watertight seal that prevents leakage of fluids and gasses from your toilet and the sewer it connects to.  The reason we never think about this is because generally, it’s not a problem. The wax seal is designed to last as long as your toilet does – up to 30 years or more!  Under normal conditions, you won’t have any problems.  If something DOES go wrong, though, the problems it can cause will be expensive if you don’t take care of them.

The Problems of A Broken Seal

If the wax seal breaks, the toilet will leak. However, most of the water will leak underneath the floor.  This will warp the wood your bathroom tile normally protects, weakening the floor. If left too long, you’ll need to replace the whole floor.  That’s expensive, time consuming, and worst of all, most insurance companies don’t cover it.  They claim you can’t prove who is at fault – you, or the previous owner of the house.  It’s a dirty way to get out of covering a major issue, but it’s what many do. This will often put the repairs completely on you.

3 Signs the Wax Ring Might Need Replacing

 

1. Odors

The wax ring is supposed to be an airtight seal. That means no air from the sewers bellow should be able to get through it into your house.  This is important because aside from the terrible smell, sewer gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which can be harmful to your health.  If you smell a distinct rotten egg odor from your bathroom, then it’s a good sign that the seal cracked.

 

2. Leaks

problemsIf the wax seal cracks, then water from the toilet will start to form puddles around the base of your toilet.  However, a puddle doesn’t automatically mean a broken seal. It can also be condensation on the tank, or a leaky joint where the water line meets the tank.  Before you try replacing the ring, you should check to make sure that these other issues aren’t the real problem.  Either way, water puddles rot your floor. Don’t delay fixing it.

 

3. Wobbling Toilet

If your toilet wobbles, that might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange.  If so, you’ll have to replace it, and that also means replacing the wax ring.  The ring should not be jiggled.  Even if the flange isn’t broken, even if your toilet only wobbles a tiny bit, constant movement weakens and eventually cracks the seal.

Moving Your Toilet

Whether temporarily removing it, or completely replacing the toilet, if you pull the toilet out for any reason, you will have to replace the ring.  Pulling up the toilet , or even just repositioning it slightly, can break the seal apart.  When you replace the seal, be sure that you remove all of the old ring.  It will usually peel off in chunks, requiring the use of a putty knife to remove it all.  If don’t remove all of the old ring, the new one won’t sit right on the flange and will break much faster.

Worse Comes To Worse

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration can help.  If the wax ring cracks and floods, we can clean up the mess and help you restore the damage.  Our experts are ready to act as soon as you call. Since water damage is harder and more expensive to fix the longer it lasts, we guarantee that if you call for water damage we will arrive in 60 minutes to get started on it.  However, you can usually spot and fix this problem before you need our help.  If you notice any of the warning signs that the seal might be going bad, check up on it, don’t ignore it.  Replacing the wax ring is much easier and less expensive than repairing and restoring after flood damage.

Don’t wait.  Hesitation can cost you big time.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs: What To Do

“Good night.  Sleep tight.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

My mother used to say this to me every night before bed when I was a child.  For a while, I actually ended up thinking that bed bugs were just an old wives’ tale; something mothers say just because their mothers said it.  But no, bed bugs are real and they are one of the biggest nuisance pests in the world.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed BugsBed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood. The species Cimex Lectulariusin in particular feeds exclusively on human blood.  The insect requires blood to complete each of its stages of metamorphosis.  They use body temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide, and visual cues to locate a sleeping host to feed on.  Bed bugs were almost completely eradicated in the developed world in the 1940s.  In the mid-90s, they began to reappear, most likely because of increased international travel, bans on certain pesticides, and increasing poison resistance.

 

What’s The Danger?

If you’re worried about diseases, you can relax – at least a bit.  So far, all research indicates that, although they can carry a number of human pathogens, they do not transmit them.  While this makes them less worrisome than fleas or ticks, they are still a nuisance.  Their bites cause swelling and redness often mistaken for rashes, and scarring.  Most bites show no symptoms at all, but occasionally they can cause moderate to severe allergic reactions.  If the bites are left untreated, or are scratched, it is possible for them to become infected.

 

How Do I Spot Them?

bed bug eggsIf you suffer bites during the night, it’s a pretty obvious sign that you might have an infestation.  The bites will appear on exposed skin, most commonly the neck, shoulders, arms and other areas of the upper body.  Occasionally, there will be multiple bites in a tight line or cluster.  If you experience any reaction, it will usually occur within 1-10 days.  If you experience bites, they will usually heal within a few days if you don’t scratch them.  Speak to a pharmacist or doctor about getting some anti-itch cream to help.

Since bites often don’t get reactions, you may need to look for other indications.  Look carefully in your mattress and linen for eggs.  They will look like small, pale poppy seeds.  You might also recognize their droppings.  Look for small rust-colored or dark brown stains.  The material they fall on usually absorbs them, but they may also form small beads. Large-scale infestations also begin to give off a noticeable odor described as being like coriander.  At higher concentrations, this odor becomes highly unpleasant.

 

Can Alpine Get Rid of Them?

We get asked this question a lot. Unfortunately, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration does not have the proper training to get rid of bed bugs.  That requires an exterminator.  We personally would recommend 5 Star Pest Control.  They have the know-how and tools to get rid of infestations of all kinds, from rodents, to biting insects.  Bed bugs won’t stand a chance.  It is best to call a pest control company rather than try to do it yourself, as bed bugs can easily stow away on clothing, moving from one room of the house to another as you try to get rid of them, and they can go for days and sometimes weeks or months without feeding, depending on the stage of their life cycle. Without professional assistance, it is very difficult to get rid of them.

 

Good Luck!

While we can’t help you get rid of them, we get asked this question enough that we felt it might be a good idea to give some basic information on how to spot them and what to do about it.  For all your other cleaning and restoration needs, feel free to get in touch.  We will be glad to help you out with any problems we’re qualified to deal with. If it’s a pest problem, contact a local extermination company.